Artist's creative generosity in wake of bushfire crisis
THE latest Southern Downs fundraising effort for fireys hopes to sketch a picture of support, even as public attention dwindles for the region's courageous heroes.
Award-winning Allora artist Adele Thomas found herself, like many, transfixed as bushfires blazed around the region.
"I was almost hypnotised watching the bushfires day after day," Mrs Thomas said.
"There are so many victims this summer, people everywhere are suffering and the financial loss is incalculable, I can't even being to think how we can remedy that."
But more so than heartbreak was the admiration Mrs Thomas felt watching rural firefighters risk their lives.
"They go out there protecting people and property in dire circumstances, sometimes not even coming home," she said.
"And they don't do it for any reason other than they're decent human beings."
"We could see the fires on the horizon in spring and I got anxious then, much less going up there with a hose.
"We can get by without politicians, but not without our volunteers. I think Australia runs on our volunteers."
So when the local gallery closed down and returned several of her paintings, the hobby artist decided to put them to good use.
Auctioning off 14 paintings this weekend, Mrs Thomas said all the money raised would go to local brigades.
For the artist, it was less about funds and more about reigniting recognition for volunteers.
"I want to keep it in our minds a little, especially now with raining and flooding, I don't want it to be wiped out of consciousness with the new crises in the world," she said.
"It won't raise huge amounts in the scheme required, but it's mostly recognition to say we're enormously grateful."
To further the show of support, Warwick auctioneer Stuart Bond had also offered up his time for the event.
"I think that's great news," Mrs Thomas said.
"Seeing the support for this event which I thought was going to quite low-key is fantastic. I might even have to get a new dress.
"Mostly though, I hope it's a huge success for the firefighters' sake."
The charity auction will be held on February 21 from 5.30pm at the ADPAR Chambers on 31 Guy St.
The auction entry is free and open to all, but attendees should bring money to buy drinks.
For more information, contact Mrs Thomas on 0412 007 393.