Keith English.
Keith English. Coffs Coast Advocate

Children lose parents, home

A TRAGIC twist of fate has left two children orphaned and changed life forever for local identity Keith English.

Earlier this year Keith's sister-in-law Vicki McInnes was diagnosed with cancer and told by doctors in her home town of Narooma that she had very little time left.

As Vicki's health deteriorated her husband, Keith's brother Eric Clark, requested that he be allowed to take her home to die as this was her last wish.

The doctors agreed and Eric was on his way to pick her up on August 31 when he lost control of his car and died just a few kilometres from the hospital. Vicki passed away two days later, leaving the couple's children Kane, 13, and May, 11, orphaned.

At the time Keith was working interstate in the mining industry and staying with friends in Coffs Harbour on his weeks off. He was forced to resign when he was named the children's guardian so he could focus on getting them up to Coffs Harbour and into a settled environment.

The little savings Keith had were spent on flying to Narooma, helping with the double funeral and sorting out his brother's affairs which, due to his wife's illness, were in tatters.

He also had to pack up all their belongings and put them into storage until he gets a house for the children and himself and can move them here.

However, due to a 15-year wait for a Housing Department property and the tight local rental market, finding a home has been difficult.

Keith desperately needs a house and is appealing for a landlord to come forward. Meanwhile, the children are staying with their grandmother who is struggling to cope.

There will be a benefit dinner, auction and entertainment at the Coffs Hotel on November 1 to raise money to relocate the children and buy a family vehicle.

Donations can also be made to the Kane and May Benefit Fund at Banana Coast Credit Union.

  • Anyone who can help find a rental property or donate items for auction is urged to phone Keith on 0422 210 455.

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