HELPING OUT: Lions Club of Ballina volunteers Bob and Dawn Sword of Lennox Head, lost their home in the 2003 Canberra bush fires.
HELPING OUT: Lions Club of Ballina volunteers Bob and Dawn Sword of Lennox Head, lost their home in the 2003 Canberra bush fires. Doug Eaton

Ballina Lions Club raise $17,000 for fire victims

DEDICATED volunteers from the Ballina and East Ballina Lions Clubs have raised more than $17,000 for bushfire victims.

Two of their fundraisers, Lennox Head couple Bob and Dawn Sword, know exactly how the Victorian families feel.

The past few days have been a grim reminder of what they went through six years ago, while living in Canberra.

Trapped in their home, Mr and Mrs Sword were surrounded by flames and had no option but to run for safety.

“We didn't have any warning that the fire was coming,” Mrs Sword said.

“I started to panic. If it wasn't for Robert, I would have stayed in the house and died.”

But Bob poured buckets of water over both of them and wrapped wet towels around their bodies . The couple then ran through the fire.

“We were running through embers - it was like a rainstorm of fire,” Mrs Sword said.

“One of our neighbours died. It was very traumatic. At his funeral, Robert and I just looked at each other and we realised we were the lucky ones. We didn't lose each other.”

But Bob and Dawn lost everything else in the fire. That's why, as members of the East Ballina Lions Club, they are now raising money.

“We've been reliving it a bit. We've shed a few tears,” Mr Sword said.

“But we really want to help out.”

The East Ballina and Ballina Lions Clubs collected more than $6500 on their first day of fundraising; $6000 on the second day and more than $4500 yesterday (Wednesday).

Donate at Ballina Fair, River Street and Ballina Central.

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