We're not giving up!
By CRAIG McTEAR
THE Townsends still have their hearts set on Coffs Harbour despite a low blow yesterday.
The family of five, who have just emigrated from England, were sound asleep upstairs in their Park Beach apartment when brazen thieves snuck in through an unlocked downstairs door.
Nick, 38, his wife, Lara, who turns 40 tomorrow, and their kids Jake, 8, Darwin, 3, and Marlin, 2, were blissfully unaware their lives were about to be turned upside down.
The thieves grabbed an estimated $5000 worth of belongings from the kitchen bench and fled.
Unfortunately, some of those items were invaluable in helping the Townsends settle here.
On the hit list were cash, the children's passports, birth and marriage certificates, a laptop computer, three mobile phones, a handbag containing credit cards and bank cards, a wallet with driving licences and cards, and removalists' details.
Nick discovered the robbery at 5am and said he felt sick.
"I was trying to desperately think of things we would need and wondering if this event would be detrimental to our staying here," he said.
"But we have to get on with it. We still want to find jobs, a house and a car. We have to carry on, it's a big commitment.
"We're hoping the Coffs Harbour community can help us find what we've lost, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"It could have been a lot worse I suppose. We could have been attacked."
The ordeal has been particularly distressing for Lara.
"I feel very unsettled being in a strange country with no home and no income. It does make you think 'have you done the right thing'. We really could have done without it," she said.
"We came here for an easier lifestyle. But we have to keep going."
Nick fell in love with Coffs when he was a backpacker here 15 years ago, and he and Lara have been planning their big move for the past three years.
They've sold their home back in the UK and their belongings are in storage, ready to be shipped over.!
If you saw suspicious activity in or around Aqua Villa Holiday Apartments on Park Beach Road overnight on Tuesday, please contact Coffs Harbour police on 6652 0299.!
If you can help the Townsends in any way, contact them through the apartment managers on 6652 3539.