Locals open their hearts and wallets

Locals open their hearts and wallets

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Byford Progress Association president Colleen Rankin and Byford Volunteer Fire Brigade members Frank Rankin, Neil Munkley and Tayla Bown.

Hundreds of people opened their wallets and donated generously to a special fundraiser last weekend. 

The Byford Progress Association and Byford Volunteer Fire Brigade held a fundraising event on Saturday morning to raise funds for a small interstate brigade impacted by the bushfires in New South Wales. 

The groups decided to quick start the fundraiser with two donations of $1000 and $5000 for Wandandian Volunteer Fire Brigade, located near Nowra about 90 kilometres from Sydney.

Byford Progress Association president Colleen Rankin said many people dug deep. 

The group’s fundraising efforts raised more than $11,800 with more expected to come in via collection tins at local shops in the coming days.

Wandandian Brigade captain Dennis Stannard said he was blown away by the support. 

“We live on a highway, we have got one service station and that’s about the only place we can raise money from,” he said. 

Mr Stannard said the fires were the worst he had ever seen in 40 years of firefighting. 

“Ninety-nine per cent of our bush is burnt, we have lost paddocks, the whole works,” he said. 

“Our biggest loss was one house in the village, a lot of stables, sheds, unregistered vehicles and earthmoving equipment. 

“We were such a strong brigade in doing hazard reduction burning, but we won’t have one for the next seven years now.” 

Mr Stannard said the money raised would likely be used to build a tin shed to store their firefighting equipment.