SHARE
Ribbons of respect . . . Wearing the red and blue ribbons to raise funds for Australian firefighters are (from left) Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury's South Canterbury co-ordinator Lou Billinghurst and Mid Canterbury co-ordinator Dellwyn Moylan. PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON

by Claire Allison

Red and blue ribbons are adorning Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury offices, as part of fundraising efforts for firefighters battling Australian bushfires.

Mid Canterbury co-ordinator Dellwyn Moylan came up with the idea, and her South Canterbury counterpart, Lou Billinghurst was happy to come on board.

“I wanted to do something to support the volunteers, particularly the emergency service volunteers in Australia fighting the fires.

“My dad’s side of the family are from Australia and I have family over there now who have been lucky enough to escape the fires, so I thought I would make some of these ribbons.”

The ribbons are available for a gold coin donation at Community House in both Ashburton and Timaru, and funds raised will go to the Victorian Country Fire Authority and New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

Miss Moylan has made the ribbons in the past to mark International Firefighters Day on May 4.

The day was inspired by a tragedy in 1998, when a crew of five Geelong West Fire Brigade firefighters – Garry Vredeveldt, Chris Evans, Stuart Davidson, Jason Thomas and Matthew Armstrong – headed to a large bushfire in Linton, Victoria.

Their truck was caught in the flames, and all five died.

Their deaths inspired International Firefighters’ Day, aimed at honouring the lives lost and dedicated to firefighters who risk their lives every day.

The red and blue ribbon is one of the most significant symbols of the day. Cut 5cm long and 1cm wide, with the two separate colours joined at the top, the red denotes the element of fire, and the blue the element of water.