It was all a bit surreal when the fires came through. It may have been 18 months ago but the feelings are all still there and quite upsetting. I remember that when I drove out of here with a few things in my caravan I didn’t realise how close it was, or how serious the fire was or else I would have taken other precious items.

I lost absolutely everything in the fires. The house, gardens, sheds, everything that I have been trying to leave as a legacy for my grandkids was just gone. I have been in this area for 45 years and in one day had nothing left to show for it. I had no idea what to do next or how I was going to achieve it.

The kindness of strangers, the community coming together, the groups that have come out to help me have assisted me to start working through all the tasks that need to be done, and helping me to start healing as a person over the last 18 months. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone that has come out to help me, including DRA. It means so much that now those dead trees have been cut down I don’t have to look out the window every day and look at their dead, burnt trunks and be reminded of the fire every time I look up. Or look at them, wondering if they are going to fall.

As I am rebuilding the house and gardens, I feel like every person that has come to see me and helped me to rebuild is now a part of my life forever. This is my home, but I don’t feel that it is just mine, because you have all come out and left a little imprint of yourselves here too.