Bushfire heroes forced out of parade

Bushfire heroes forced out of parade

A tribute group to Victoria’s bushfire heroes and victims will march in this year’s Marde Gras parade wearing black clothing and yellow ribbons.
Felicity Brinschwitz, a volunteer coordinator at the refugee centre in Healesville, has arranged for volunteers and those devastated by the bushfire tragedy to still have an opportunity to participate under the banner -œAustralia Unites.
-œWe want to have a presence to remind people that even though we’re having an amazing time at Mardi Gras, this relief effort is going to go on for a lot longer and the and the numbers of deaths will increase, not just from the bushfires but unfortunately from suicide, she said.
The group will welcome people from all around the country, and will have no participation fee.
-œAnyone who wants to show their support with us, they can. We’ll supply the yellow ribbons on the day. It’s not going to be a razzle dazzle float with music and lighting, it’s simply a group of people who want to march together and make a silent statement. It’s not going to be downbeat, it will be a happy affair, but just to let people know that is still going on.
The multi-award winning Vic Presence float, which included Brinschwitz and a number of those volunteers, was cancelled on the weekend due to the economic downturn and low turn-out.

Unfortunately none of those funds, including a Mardi Gras grant, could be used for Australia Unites.
-œ[Mardi Gras audiences] will know how deeply the bushfires have affected us. Especially those who have been up there assisting first hand, with the victims who’ve lost friends, loved ones, houses, everything but the clothes on their back, Brinschwitz said.
-œYou ask them what they need, and they say, -˜I need anything, because I have nothing’. It’s such a gut-wrenching feeling. But it’s been amazing helping them. We want to try to show everyone that during those horrible times it’s still important to celebrate the amazing things in life and to keep going.

info: Anyone wanting to take part can call Felicity on (03) 9847 0349.

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