Locals rally for grieving family

By Merania Karauria

The family of Ellen Newland say they appreciate the generosity of the Wanganui community, which has donated money, clothing, toys and special gifts after their tragedy last week.

Ms Newland died in a house on December 11. The fire, caused by an electrical fault, destroyed all the family's belongings and caused major damage to their Durie Hill home.

The family are members of the Equippers Church, which has organised donations of money, meals, clothing and toys, which can be dropped off to church members.

Tanya Pohio is collecting toys and clothing for Ms Newland's fiance Aaron Fletcher and their three children.

"There has been a groundswell of support. Wanganui has really risen and reached out to support the family," Mrs Pohio said.

"People's compassion and generosity community-wide has been wonderful."

Among the clothing was a wrapped gift with a card, hand-written by a small child.

Before Ms Newland's funeral on Saturday, the church members made up little packs for the girls of "beautiful quality crayons and felts" that were donated.

A suitcase of books has been donated. These will be given to the family once they are settled.

Mrs Pohio has said that, if people wanted to donate, 5-year-old Jessica loves pink, 6-year-old Madison has "popping blue eyes", and both would fit size 7 clothing. Kalem, 11, is sports-mad and loves rugby and rugby league and would fit size 14. Their dad, Aaron, is men's XL.

Pastor James Roy said he had been in Wanganui for more than eight months: "I have been told Wanganui is an awesome place to grow up, and the generosity to the family is fantastic. The family are very appreciative of the community-wide support."

Mr Roy said this was an awesome step, but just one step in a long journey for the family.



If you would like to make a cash donation, contact Lynne Ruscoe on 345 2051, or upstairs at the Equippers Church office at 172 Glasgow St. An account has been opened for donations to the family in the name of Equippers Church - 03 0791 0779320 000. Accountability processes are in place and all cash donation drop-offs will be receipted.

If people wish to give meals, they need to be packed in non-returnable containers and frozen, and can be dropped off to Muddy Waters on Putiki Drive.

Raewyn Hiroti is the contact person on 021 171 1919. Clothing and toys: Tanya Pohio on 021 242 4811.

For all other inquiries contact the family liaison, Colin Tyson-Tahana, on 0271 718 086.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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