A roaring fire at an abandoned house in Rule Street at Elliott Heads on Monday night.
A roaring fire at an abandoned house in Rule Street at Elliott Heads on Monday night.

What a vantastic offer

EARLY this week John McGrath was embracing one of those moments in life which test your resolve to the limit.

A fire at his Sherwood Creek home west of Arrawarra on Monday had destroyed his residence and all his possessions.

“They were all treasures to me, everything I'd accumulated in a lifetime,” he said the day after the fire.

His story was played out before the public by all local news media and it created a response which has left him humbled.

As his phone ran hot with offers of help he was finding out first hand just what a warm and compassionate community he resided in.

Amongst those who made a call were John and Shirley Hancock of South Grafton.

They said when they heard his story they knew immediately that had to help.

Just 15 months ago they had also experienced the gut-wrenching experience of having their home burnt down and along with it the loss of all their personal belongings.

“It brought back those terrible memories for us, like John we were left with only the clothes on our backs,” Shirley said.

They also remembered at the time how the local community came forward to help them.

“We had cars pulling up at our front gate with bags of clothes, one chap who I had never met before came up and handed me an envelope with $500 cash in it,” Mr Hancock said.

“It really was overwhelming and a day hasn't gone past since when we haven't reflected on the generosity of this community,” he said.

Yesterday the Hancock's decided it was time to make a repayment on their debt and they contacted John and asked him if could come up to their home at South Grafton.

When he arrived they handed him the keys to a caravan which had served as their home while they were rebuilding their burnt-out house.

“It may look a little rough on the outside, but with a little spit and polish and clean-up, at least

it will give John a roof over his head,” Shirley said.

As for John he was choking back tears as he said how much he appreciated the Hancock's spontaneous gesture.



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