Festival helps fire victims

Glenwood resident Erica Huntley turned the devastation of losing all she owned into hope for others.

Three years ago her new apartment burnt down because of an electrical fire. What Ms Huntley went through inspired her to organise the Blacktown Bushfire Relief Festival tomorrow (Wednesday), to raise money for the victims of last year's bushfires in the Blue Mountains.

"I understand devastation and what it's like to lose all your possessions," she said.

"I had to rebuild my entire life and now I want to do something to help the Blue Mountains people."

Ms Huntley, 33, says other communities pooling together to help the victims may give them a "morale boost". "It's time Australians and local communities got behind their own people, rather than always supporting victims of overseas disasters," she said.

The festival will include rides, food stalls, a petting farm, jumping castles and face painting.

The entertainment line-up includes the Fat Pizza cast, former The Voice of Australia competitor Demi De Ross, a fashion parade by Ailna Collections, a performance by Static Dance, and a demonstration by Elite Martial Arts and The Xtreem Team.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill said his community was "sincerely grateful" for the initiative of Ms Huntley.

"There is a lot of positive recovery happening in our community as residents rebuild their homes and lives," Cr Greenhill said.

"But the road to recovery is a long one.

"Ongoing fund-raising efforts such as the Blacktown Bushfire event play an important role in this recovery."

Representatives of Fire and Rescue NSW, Blacktown police, the Rural Fire Service and St John Ambulance will be at the festival.

■ The Blacktown Bushfire Relief Festival is from 10am to 5pm on Wednesday at the Blacktown Showground on the corner of Richmond Road and Balmoral Road. For event updates: facebook.com/Bushfirerelief.

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