FOOTY FEVER: Ashley Clarke fires up the barbie for the annual work- place footy tipping party.
FOOTY FEVER: Ashley Clarke fires up the barbie for the annual work- place footy tipping party.

Fire snag endurance

By BREE PRICE

Norply footy tipping barbecue will go ahead

ASHLEY CLARKE is adamant ? the Norply end-of-season footy tipping party this Saturday is still on.

There'll be beer, a barbecue and live coverage of the preliminary final between the St George Illawarra Dragons and Wests Tigers at his house.

The father-of-three was one of 140 Norply workers who lost their jobs when the Kyogle plywood factory was destroyed by fire last week. He worked at the factory for 14 years

Mr Clarke said he had never considered cancelling the annual shindig for those who competed in the factory's tipping competition.

"It's always been some- thing to take our minds off work and is a little bit of enjoyment for everyone, especially this year with what's gone on," Mr Clarke said.

"It's about the seventh year I've run the tipping competition and held the party.

"Normally we try and keep work talk away from the party but it might be hard this year. I'd say there'll be a bit of talk about the fire.

"It'll be a bit like a goingaway party."

Mr Clarke, 35, said the reality of the past week was only just starting to sink in.

"It's a bit of a shock. It's kind of like a death without a death," he said.

"I have shed a few tears. The kids caught me the other night. I guess it's me feeling sorry for myself.

"You've just got to keep your chin up and move on."

Mr Clarke is one of a number of employees who are receiving an additional two weeks wages from Norply and are working as security at the Norply site.

They are preventing anyone unauthorised from going beyond the safety tape surrounding the burnt-out shell of the factory.

He said he hoped to complete a green card course to allow him to work at construction sites.

"Maybe I can get some work rebuilding the place," he said.

"It has been great over the years and if circumstances suit (once it's rebuilt) I'll go back."



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