The Salvos’ Di Walters helps house fire victims Michael Birnie and Christine Dallison.
The Salvos’ Di Walters helps house fire victims Michael Birnie and Christine Dallison. Bruce Thomas

Dig deep for couple hit hard

THERE are no words to describe the loss Christine Dallison has felt since her mother, Michelle, died in a Coffs Harbour house fire a fortnight ago.

Ms Dallison and her partner, Michael Birnie, lost everything they held dear when fire razed their Oriana Street home.

Now in desperate need of support, the couple are starting from scratch.

They have walked away from the disaster with just a few items of clothing as the contents of their home were uninsured.

“Homes and all our belongings can be replaced, life goes on, but the loss of Michelle is the hardest thing we are dealing with,” Michael said.

“We were in Sydney when we got the call. All we hoped was that Michelle was all right but then we got the news, it just crushed us.”

Christine and Michael were caring for Michelle, who was terminally ill with cancer.

They had left her in the care of a family member and were celebrating Michael’s granddaughter’s birthday when the fire happened.

Hearing of their dilemma, the Department of Housing and the Salvation Army have offered much needed support. The couple have found another home which the Salvos hope to furnish while also providing food and clothing.

“We do all that we can to help people in this situation, but other than that not much else really happens unless the community gets behind them and donates anything they can to help out,” Salvos welfare centre manager Di Walters said.

The Salvos have organised the Michelle Dallison Appeal on the family’s behalf. Household goods in reasonable condition can be donated, picked up and delivered by calling the Salvos on 6650 0928.

Michelle’s funeral will be held at the Coffs Harbour Crematorium at Karangi on October 21, at 10.30am.



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