Principal Meg Staples and vice captain Milly Ridley from Forbes Public School were warmly welcomed at Parkes Que Club as the Thuringowa Quota Club in Queensland had sent, via our club, $2300 to be used where it would do the greatest good for our regional flood victims.
(min cost $8)
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Milly first gave a most informative power point presentation and talked us through what had happened at their school, but beginning with a map of Australia with a dark line drawn linking Thuringowa with Forbes and expressing her great appreciation that 'distance does not prevent kindness'.
We heard that when the flood first threatened, teachers and pupils raised everything up as high as they could, how they all made sandbags and how relieved they were when after both the first and second peaks had passed, only two classrooms were badly impacted.
But then came the totally unexpected extraordinary deluge when 80 per cent of the buildings were filled with water and the school was lost.
The situation was so grim that the army arrived to help them clean out the buildings and salvage anything that was possible.
Milly's pictures were so good that we almost relived the event with her.
Principal Meg then continued the story.
Realising how important it would be for the children's wellbeing as well as their education to have a school to go to after the Christmas holidays, the principal of Forbes High School (not impacted by the flood waters) rang her and suggested they could set up a temporary school in part of their grounds.
And so it was, 31 demountables were placed on site in just 20 days and they had a temporary school ready to go.
They had 80 children there the first day and 300 by the end of the week, which included some children from Eugowra.
"We are a community and we are so happy," Milly and Meg said.
"A school is more than bricks and mortar."
Meg told us that after a year of living on adrenalin, many of the flood victims were now feeling very down, and the donation would be used to hold a free community barbeque where they could all come together to talk, to exchange ideas and stories, to laugh a bit, to enjoy a bit of entertainment, perhaps to pick up some useful things, but mainly to break the isolation and despair many were now feeling as they battled to begin life again.
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