Wongarbon RFS raise $11,000 for Sir Ivan Fire victims

LUCKY WINNERS: Wongarbon RFS' Carole Bayley and Brett McCarthy with the new owners of the Red Hot Summer Tour guitar. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

LUCKY WINNERS: Wongarbon RFS' Carole Bayley and Brett McCarthy with the new owners of the Red Hot Summer Tour guitar. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

When he thought of doing a bucket collection at the Red Hot Summer Tour for the Sir Ivan Fire victims, Brett McCarthy had no idea how it would be received.

“I was thinking there were 5000 people going so if everyone gave us $1 I’d have $5000. I knew some people would give us a little bit more and some people wouldn’t donate but $5000 was the plan,” Mr McCarthy said.

“I’m a member of the RFS so I just saw it as an opportunity to be able to raise awareness and money for the community out there. It’s not often we have an event that has 5000 people at it.”

Two days before the event the collection was given the tick and five volunteers from the Wongarbon Rural Fire Service walked among the crowd gathering donations.

“You could be collecting from one person and someone else in the back would have their hand in the air, and you’ve got five or six people calling for you,” Mr MCCarthy said.

The generosity went further still when the Old Bank donated a guitar to be signed by all the artists and auctioned on radio, hitting Mr McCarthy’s expectations out of the park.

In total, $8300 was raised from the donations at the Red Hot Summer Tour and an additional $2700 from selling the guitar.

It was a cause close to the heart of the duo who bought the guitar.

“They were contributing to the cause, but also in part because the RFS has helped them at their place,” Mr McCarthy said.

The money will be donated to BlazeAid and the Country Women’s Association, Mr McCarthy said, where it will most likely go towards repairing fences.

The Sir Ivan Fire burnt more than 55,000 hectares of land and destroyed 35 homes, 131 outbuildings, a community hall and a church. The village of Uarbry was almost wiped out.

It also destroyed about 6000 kilometres of fencing, worth an estimated $15 million to replace BlazeAid coordinator Laurie Dawson said.

Mr McCarthy said he wanted to extend his thanks to every member of the community who donated, as well as those involved with the Red Hot Summer Tour and the Old Bank.

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