Local sporting organisations and the business community have rallied to provide support to a Bundaberg family after their vehicle caught fire when they travelled to an AFL 9's game recently.
Sharon Lewer and her two children were yesterday gifted a vehicle through funds raised by the Bundaberg AFL 9's and Brothers Bulldogs organisations, with members and businesses also coming on board to show their support.
Sharon said she would be forever grateful for the kind gesture which had come after her car had burst into flames in the parking area of the sports field two weeks ago.
“I was taking the kids to their AFL 9's game and we were sitting there in the car and smoke started coming out from under the bonnet,” she said.
“I opened up the bonnet and as soon as I closed it again the whole car went up in flames.
“I got the kids to safety; told them to keep running and don't stop and I called emergency services.”
With no one yet at the sports grounds, Sharon said they waited for the fire services alone and watched on as the car became engulfed in flames.
“Just watching the car go up and nothing able to be done… it was horrible,” she said.
AFL 9's Bundaberg coordinator Paul Timms said witnessing what the family had to go through had spurred him and the rest of the club into action.
“When we first saw what had happened we thought someone must have stolen a car and dumped it there days ago,” he said
“Then we saw the family huddled under the clubhouse crying and then it started to rain, then everyone turned up and witnessed the scene.
“The family was at a complete loss with no car, no money, no options and all visibly shaken after having to escape the burning car – they were worried it was going to explode and burn the clubhouse down.”
Paul said his immediate reaction was to do something to help and after plenty of research and donations, he and other members of the organisation managed to purchase a 2005 Camry.
“Within an hour individuals pledged over $1500 and some local businesses including AIM Hearing, RealWay Bundaberg, DGZ Accounting and Healthy Nation committed another $2000 between them.
“We also had Adam from ABC Auto-Tech check the car for us free of charge.
“We purchased the car and will continue to make up the gap in funds with some more fundraising”
Sharon and her children were surprised with the vehicle this week in front of a crowd at the club.
“Sharon and the kids had tears of joy and the hundred or so onlookers also shed a tear, proud to be a part of this act of kindness,” Paul said.
“It was such a shock, I cried because I just wasn't expecting it,” Sharon added.
“The kids are so happy and I am so grateful to AFL 9's and everybody involved for this kind gesture because it means I can keep getting the kids to their games and they can keep creating wonderful memories.”