The mayor of the Warrumbungle Shire Council said tears came to his eyes when he learned how the people of Bathurst were launching an appeal to buy white goods and bedding for residents of Coonabarabran who have lost everything in raging bushfires over the past week.
More than 40 homes have already been lost in the fire that continues to burn in the Warrumbungle National Park.
People have been asked to donate new or good quality second hand white goods, appliances, blankets and bedding.
Money can also be donated to the appeal and this will be used to buy brand new appliances.
Bathurst mayor Monica Morse and deputy mayor Ian North spoke with Warrumbungles mayor Peter Shinton on Wednesday night.
He was overwhelmed by Bathurst’s willingness to help.
Cr North said Mayor Shinton indicated a number of councils had called, offering their sympathy, but none have made an offer like the one that came from Bathurst.
“He said he and his wife had tears in their eyes to think a town would do something like this for them,” Cr North said.
“Cr Shinton said his shire has been devastated. People have lost absolutely everything.”
Cr North said the mayor is a member of the Rural Fire Service so he has been out fighting the fires himself.
“He is completely exhausted and very grateful for the support given to his region by people in Bathurst,” Cr North said.
“What else can we do, they’re our neighbours.”
Bathurst developer Bruce Bolam has also given the use of one of his buildings in Keppel Street to store the donated whitegoods for as long as the appeal runs.
“I know Bobby and his team are very caring,” Mr Bolam said yesterday.
“There is no doubt those people are going through a heartbreaking time with the devastating bushfires.
“If we can help in a practical way by supplying this building for storage then we are very happy to do so.
“Being a rural property owner myself it is constantly on my mind what would happen if I lost buildings, equipment and stock.
“It would be devastating.
“During the bushfire danger period I find myself watching the temperatures and winds all the time,” Mr Bolam said.
President of Bathurst Lions Club Terry Renshaw also attended yesterday’s appeal launch.
He said the club will be co-ordinating the fundraising effort in the same way they did the Toowoomba white goods appeal.
They will also assist with volunteers to man the collection centre.
“It’s a damn good cause and we will be on board to assist wherever we can,” he said.
Graeme Burke of Burke’s Transport has again offered his support in transporting the white goods to where they are needed, and federal Member for Calare John Cobb and state member for Bathurst Paul Tool have also come on board.
Donated goods can be delivered to the collection centre in the old Dave’s Discounts building near the Schnitzel Bar in Keppel Street.
For more information about the appeal, people can call Cr Bobby Bourke on 0448 433 843, Cr Ian North on 0409 040 020 or Steve Ellery on 0417 046 567.