Port Stephens community's chance to thank responders to Tilligerry bushfire

THANKS: Port Stephens MP Kate Washington (in red) with Tilligerry Rural Fire Brigade. Picture: Supplied
THANKS: Port Stephens MP Kate Washington (in red) with Tilligerry Rural Fire Brigade. Picture: Supplied

The Tilligerry community will have a chance to thank firefighters who battled to beat back the bushfire that recently threatened the peninsula.

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington and Club Lemon Tree will host a thank you event on Saturday, giving members of the community a chance to recognise and show appreciation for those who stepped up to help during the emergency.

“Given the ferocity of the fire and the conditions it’s remarkable no lives or properties were lost,” Ms Washington said.

“It was only due to the courage and dedication of our local firefighters that the seemingly impossible was achieved.

“Whilst ‘thank you’ never seems enough, I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to express their gratitude.

“Firefighters were on the front lines but I also want to recognise the small businesses, churches, volunteer organisations, and local residents who pitched in to keep people safe.”

Official thank yous will be held in the club’s auditorium from 11.30am. Afterwards there will be entertainment and fund-raising activities.

While the day, open to all, is free of charge, residents are being asked to register their attendance online at trybooking.com/XUPS for catering purposes.

DEBRIEF: Members of the community gathered at Club Lemon Tree on August 23 to talk about their fire experiences.

DEBRIEF: Members of the community gathered at Club Lemon Tree on August 23 to talk about their fire experiences.

The event comes after residents gathered at Club Lemon Tree on August 23 to recognise firefighters efforts, share their fire stories and thoughts about what procedures can be established to cut down on community confusion in future  emergencies.

Al Donnelly from Koala Ferries attended the meeting and took the opportunity to clear the air about using his vessel during the bushfire.

After receiving backlash for accepting money to ferry passengers away from the Tilligerry Peninsula on the night of August 18, Mr Donnelly explained that this was to cover the cost of fuel of which he would otherwise be unable to pay for.

“We didn’t have enough fuel to run in and back,” he said. “We asked customers for money to go across and explained this would be used for fuel. No one was refused and no animals were refused to board.”

Tanilba Bay resident Fran Corner said the response to the meeting, while small, was “good”, and that she felt is was “good to say we can do this better next time”.

Ms Corner said responses from the meeting would be shared at a community forum on the fire which Ms Washington is looking to establish at a future date.

Ms Washington said the forum would be the right place to air concerns, “bed down” future actions such as establishing muster points and address issues that arose from the August fire.

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