Human face to Willawarrin’s recovery

Maureen Reid, more commonly known as Maudie, has been described by Willawarrin locals as the lifeblood of the community hall.

A resident of Willawarrin for 20 years, Maudie took on the role as the coordinator of the hall during the bushfire emergency and selflessly volunteered every day from 8am-5pm for six weeks.

“I’m the treasurer of the hall committee and I don’t know, I was around so I put up my hand and helped out,” Maudie explained of her volunteering role during the emergency.

Like many women upriver, Maudie›s work in the recovery effort hasn’t lessened despite the weeks and months passing since the flames were put out.

An ever-present face at the Willawarrin Community Hall, she became a familiar face for people, someone to lean on and talk to and answer questions.

If Maudie didn’t know the answers, she reached out to those who could, working alongside Kempsey Shire Council staff and other charities while organising donations for people.

“I enjoyed helping people, but it did get hard at times. There were a lot of sad stories and people who were in need but didn’t ask for help because they felt like there were others worse off than them,” she said.

Still committing a large portion of her time to volunteering at the hall to assist those affected by the fires, Maudie has seen firsthand the signs of recovery, as well as the scale of the work yet to be done.

“I think people up here are starting to come to terms with what happened, and some people are even starting to rebuild. I know one man who lost his house is going to rebuild and he’s in his 70’s.”

In recognition of the unique role those like Maudie have played throughout the community, Council are inviting the local women of the Willawarrin, Bellbrook and surrounding areas to come together for a special luncheon.

The Face to Face, Side by Side Luncheon will be a day of delicious food, a glass of bubbly, an engaging guest speaker and some wonderful entertainment. The event will be held on Saturday 21 March 2020 from 11:30am-3pm at the Willawarrin Showground.

Recovery expert Anne Leadbeater will be the guest speaker. Anne was awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) for her community leadership in recovering from fires in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.

Tickets are $25 each and include lunch, two drinks and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased from Council’s Customer Service Centre.

Maureen Reid outside the Willawarrin Community HallMaureen Reid, commonly known as Maudie, outside the Willawarrin Community Hall

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