HEART OF GOLD: Retiree Sandra Smith makes countless trips a day in a sedan because she has five grandchildren to look after and can't afford to repair her seven-seater vehicle.
HEART OF GOLD: Retiree Sandra Smith makes countless trips a day in a sedan because she has five grandchildren to look after and can't afford to repair her seven-seater vehicle. Molly Glassey

A selfless nan's plea for a helping hand

A GRANDMOTHER caring for her five young grandchildren is struggling after her seven-seater vehicle broke down and proved too expensive to fix.

Sandra Smith has to do four trips a day in a borrowed car, all to ensure her grandchildren get to school and daycare.

"I know it's a big ask for help but I have to ask out of necessity and swallow my pride see if a generous company or person could help our family," Mrs Smith said.

"I purchased a seven-seater car privately back in 2016 but, after only one month, the engine died.

"Mechanics in town quoted me approximately $4000 for a replacement engine and I can't afford to have it fixed."

Originally from Preston, England, the retiree moved to Warwick in 1991 and, 24 years later, relocated to Melbourne to be with her daughter.

Those plans were disrupted in 2015 when she took in five of her grandchildren, Preston, now 11, Leyland, 10, Brighton, 7, Zara, 4, and Lara, 3.

"I bought the house in Warwick without even seeing it, as the kids were in Western Australia," she said.

"I just wanted the kids to have a home to grow up in, and something to have when I go. So I've got a mortgage to pay as well."

The family of six shares a three-bedroom home, with the three boys sharing one room and the two girls in another.

"What we want is to just be able to go out and do things as a family," she said.

"We can't travel anywhere together and I have to do multiple trips in a day, leave one kid somewhere, go get the others, to get the kids everywhere."

Buckling under financial pressures, Mrs Smith said she had no way to afford a new car, let alone repairs.

"I simply can't afford to have it fixed," she said.

"I did manage to save to get my car fixed but the septic tank in the property I purchased broke down and needed replacing, so I had to use the money for that, plus borrow money as the total cost was $12,000 for a new septic system.

She said the children were struggling to take part in social activities and she hoped, if they were able to take part in things they loved, they would find life a little easier.

Preston is proving to be a talented gymnast.

"He's already signed up for classes here and doing really well," she said. "His teacher thinks he's fantastic."

"Leyland used to be into horse riding and I think that's something that would help him here in Warwick.

"It would be good if he could get back into that here."

 

If you can offer assistance, phone the Daily News on 46601312.



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