Kind­ness in the face of tragedy

Northern Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - KIM NUT­BROWN

A fam­ily who lost every­thing in a dev­as­tat­ing Ran­giora house fire last week say they are amazed and hum­bled by the kind­ness of strangers.

Ka­t­rina and Shane Prest spent hours on a foot­path in the rain last Thurs­day watch­ing as fire fighters at­tempted to sal­vage the Hous­ing New Zea­land (HNZ) house – their home for the past 18 moths.

‘‘We lit­er­ally had the shirts on our backs and that was it,’’ Ka­t­rina Prest said. ‘‘It has been a pretty stress­ful week.’’

The one pos­i­tive of the week, ac­cord­ing to the fam­ily, has been the gen­eros­ity of the North Can­ter­bury com­mu­nity.

‘‘It has been amaz­ing – we just don’t know how to thank ev­ery­one,’’ Ka­t­rina Prest said.

Prest, who works at Count­down Ran­giora, has had the week off on full pay, as has her hus­band Shane from his job at Farm­ers on Moor­house Ave – and he’d only worked there one day.

‘‘Amaz­ing. It’s all I can say, com­pletely over­whelm­ing and hum­bling,’’ Ka­t­rina said.

Prest’s col­leagues did a whip around do­nat­ing money out of their own pock­ets, and Count­down pro­vided the fam­ily with gro­cery vouch­ers and a deli plat­ter.

Count­down Ran­giora East man­ager, Hamish O’Mal­ley, said he’s worked in parts of Christchurch where he doesn’t be­lieve the com­mu­nity would rally the way he has seen here.

‘‘The staff have been amaz­ing, bring­ing items and money do­na­tions. I have re­ally seen such a great team spirit from them all,’’ O’Mal­ley said.

He said Count­down Ran­giora East has been act­ing as a drop-off for the pub­lic want­ing to do­nate items to the fam­ily. A do­na­tion of items from the pub­lic was given to the Prest’s on Satur­day.

‘‘We are happy to con­tinue as a drop off point for peo­ple and act as the go-be­tween. We have a note­book at cus­tomer ser­vice where cus­tomers are list­ing larger items they have to do­nate such as a couch, beds and other fur­ni­ture,’’ he said.

Givealit­tle pages have also been set up for the fam­ily, one by Shane’s brother and an­other by a col­league of Ka­t­rina’s.

The chil­dren’s school, Wood­end pri­mary School, as well as Ran­giora High School have held mufti-days to ben­e­fit the fam­ily.

Ka­t­rina Prest said at the mo­ment the fam­ily is just tak­ing each day as it comes.

KIM NUT­BROWN/STUFF

Shane and Ka­t­rina Prest with Count­down Ran­giora Man­ager Hamish O’Mal­ley.

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