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Support in the wake of storm's destruction

Grant Rolph and his kids Lauren, Chelsea and Charlie deliver the impressive canvas photo of the lightning strike in Pratten (taken by Grant for Higgins Storm Chasing) to Diane Lawlor to use in the monster raffle fundraiser for Pratten residents.
Grant Rolph and his kids Lauren, Chelsea and Charlie deliver the impressive canvas photo of the lightning strike in Pratten (taken by Grant for Higgins Storm Chasing) to Diane Lawlor to use in the monster raffle fundraiser for Pratten residents. Georja Ryan

WHEN Mother Nature swooped into Pratten on her path of destruction on Wednesday night, she left heartache, devastation and utter chaos in her wake.

She ripped off roofs, demolished homes and ravaged the streets, but even a severe storm is no match for Pratten's community spirit.

Just days after the storm, residents gathered at the White St Hall in Pratten on Saturday, joined by people from far and wide, to enjoy a snag on the barbecue and to raise funds for those who lost everything.

One resident, and organiser of the sausage sizzle, Diane Lawlor said she was overwhelmed by the amount of support from the community.

"It was a fantastic event," Ms Lawlor said.

"The comradery was just wonderful. People came from Warwick and Nobby and Bony Mountain."

Ms Lawlor said the sausage sizzle was initially expected to be a small gathering for Pratten residents.

"When I first thought it up I expected to have maybe 50 people down here but then all of a sudden I was on the phone and on the email to everyone and I had to ring Gail from Steele's Bakery, because she supplied the sausages, and tell her 'I think there will be more than 50'," Ms Lawlor said.

"But she was way ahead of me and said 'don't worry I've catered for 200'."

The sausage sizzle was just the first of a series of fundraising events, with a monster raffle the next.

Ms Lawlor said she would approach businesses over the next few weeks hoping to collect 100 raffle prizes.

"The Marriott on the Gold Coast has already donated a weekend holiday so there are going to be some great prizes," she said.

Grant Rolph of Higgins Storm Chasing brought with him a huge canvas of a photograph he had taken last Wednesday night, of Pratten being struck by lightning.

Mr Rolph said he had heard Ms Lawlor was trying to organise a raffle and thought he would donate the impressive photograph as a prize.

Mr Rolph said when news of the storm came in on Wednesday, Higgins Storm Chasing staff leapt into action.

"We had a couple of admin people monitoring the radar and two chasers in the Pratten area. We knew it was going to be big," he said.

"It wasn't a very big storm season last season, but I think we'll be in for an active storm season this year."

One Pratten woman who is hoping the storms stay away is Bronwyn Tickle who had parts of her home destroyed.

"I just remember seeing the manhole in my house lifting up. It was really scary," she said.

"I've just felt sick in the stomach ever since."

She said it was comforting that there were so many members of the wider community willing to lend a helping hand.

"I'm gobsmacked really," Mrs Tickle said.

Topics:  editors picks emergency pratten storm weather



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