The Canberra Raiders have kicked off their Bushfire relief Tour with a $15,000 donation to the Batlow branch of the Country Women’s Association.
Elliott Whitehead and Sia Soliola visited the CWA rooms at Batlow this morning as part of the NRL’s Roads to region tour and made the presentation on behalf of the Raiders Sports clubs, with Raiders Gungahlin, Raiders Belconnen and Raiders Weston all contributing $5000 each for the donation.
President of CWA Batlow Branch Tina Billing said the donation was unexpected, but sincerely appreciated and would mean so much to the local community.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by this generous donation of $15,000 which is going to straight out to fire victims and fire effected folk in and around Batlow,” Ms Billing said. “There’s been plenty of tears already from us, we struggle to raise money and we do a lot of tea and scones, but this is just beautiful and means so much to us and the community.”
The Fire’s which ripped through the region had a remarkable impact on the whole Batlow community, with total devastation only avoided by the tireless efforts of the Rural Fire Service and local volunteers.
Ms Billing said the community was still reeling from the impact of the fires and although it would take a long time to fully recover, they were doing all they could to ensure the community is supported in the coming months.
“We were told the town was undefendable, but the town was defended by the local RFS and all of the people who stayed to help,” she said. “We think we’ve lost around 20 houses in town and 30 around the area and we’ve had a number of local business affected as well.
“We’re going to meet this Thursday and we’re looking to spread the joy and get this money to those people in the region who have been affected. We want to thank the Raiders clubs and players for coming today, this means so much to us all.”
Raiders forward Sia Soliola said it was an honour to represent the club in the Batlow and Tumbarumba region today and help kick-start the clubs Bushfire relief tour.
“To see what this community went through firsthand has been a humbling experience,” Soliola said. “Organisations like the Raiders and their clubs are in a position where we can help make a difference and to be able to present this cheque on their behalf today has been an honour.”