Only 11 weeks into her new job as Bellingen High School principal and Kim Dixon has had an unexpected, and much appreciated, taste of the town’s community spirit.
With more than 20 trees partially or wholly uprooted in the school grounds by the December 20 storm, as well as widespread damage of roofs, gutters and windows and doors, help was needed to clean up.
“Camp Creative is just around the corner and there were branches and fallen trees everywhere,” Kim said.
“Pathways and concrete blocks had been lifted and the footbridge to Crown Street was completely out of action due to a huge tree having landed on it.
It was overwhelming to see everyone pitching in. And so many of the kids – that was really lovelyKim Dixon
“The idea of putting a call out for a working bee came about after Tom Ruming (2018 Year 12) and his siblings Emily and James turned up the day after the storm to assist in the initial clean up.
“They did a great job and so we decided to build on that and sent out messages via social media including the Camp Creative trail … I wasn’t expecting too much given that it’s a time of holiday and travel.”
Much to her surprise and delight yesterday, Tuesday, from 7.30am, people began arriving to sweep, cart loads of debris, brush cut, mow, weed, prune and more.
“It was overwhelming to see everyone pitching in. And so many of the kids – that was really lovely. We also had three school principals here – Bob Stockton and Paul Holding came to help.”
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Kim wants to also thank the Swiss Patisserie, which donated “an enormous and particularly yummy amount of food” as well as the Camp Creative cooks who brought fresh sausage rolls for everyone.
“The last volunteer left at about 1.30pm and what had looked like a warzone is now so much cleaner and neater and completely safe for Camp Creative to start on Monday.”
Arborists and tree loppers are onsite today and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday) with cranes and equipment to move large branches and trees.
Access via the footbridge to Crown St was reopened last Friday thanks to the help of Scott Smith of Urunga.