Repat Commissioner lends helping hand

As the bushfire emergency gripped the South Coast of NSW, Repatriation Commissioner Don Spinks AM and members of his Lions Club helped out at the Merimbula and Bega evacuation centres as volunteers.

The Pambula Merimbula Lions Club provided support at several evacuation locations including Merimbula’s Club Sapphire, RSL Club and the Bega Civic Centre.

‘Our role was to assist with looking after the welfare and wellbeing of those who were at the evacuation centres,’ Mr Spinks said. ‘We helped blow up beds, collect and dispose of rubbish along with any general duties that needed doing. At meal times, we assisted in serving meals and cleaning up afterwards.’

It was estimated that there were up to 1,000 people at Club Sapphire and around 400 at the RSL Club in Merimbula on 5 January.

‘It was calm but very sombre,’ Mr Spinks said. ‘People didn’t know the fate of their houses, properties, family members and friends. They were all very grateful for the support being provided to them by the centres and the community.’

He said he was glad to help out.

‘It was good to be able to contribute by supporting members of our community in a time of great need for so many people,’ Mr Spinks said.

Two smiling men surrounded by air mattresses and bedding in a large room.

Pambula Merimbula Lions Club volunteers, Alf Smith (left) and Don Spinks (right), help blow up air mattresses at the Merimbula Evacuation Centre on 5 January.