An Australian sampler ~ Jane Marshall 1857 in aid of the Rural Fire Services (RFS) of Katoomba/Leura and Wentworth Falls.
The graph and thread legend will be available for purchase as a downloadable .pdf for three months only for a £10 donation. If you would like to donate more than £10 you can increase your donation in multiples of £10 by adding extra copies of the chart into your basket.
ALL the proceeds from each chart sold in the next three months will be divided equally between the Katoomba/Leura RFS and the Wentworth Falls RFS. The only deduction will be the charge PayPal make to process your purchase.
We are able to do this as Hands Across the Sea Samplers have sponsored the purchase of the antique sampler, Sandra has charted the sampler, Access Commodities have generously donated the linen and silks for the model, Nicola has stitched the model and Sully’s Frames of Penryn, Cornwall, England have graciously donated the framing.
The brigades will use the money raised to replace/enhance any non standard issue equipment and fire station needs. They have the basic needs supplied by the government, but they self-fund through fundraising initiatives and community donations any additional equipment to enhance their firefighting capabilities.
On January 12th 2020 a total of $28,038.80 AUD had been raised and $14,019.40 AUD was sent to each of the brigades our fundraiser has been collecting for.
On January 16th 2020 $39,906.50 AUD has been raised.
So why have we chosen two of the NSW Rural Fire Service brigades?
Sandra will explain why she chose Katoomba/Leura RFS.
“My husband Bob has been a member of the Katoomba/Leura RFS for many years. In this time, he has fought countless bushfires with the brigade and special Strike Teams. This is when RFS members travel to other areas of NSW for 5 days to help work on bushfires.
2019 was a very busy year for Bob and 2020 will be too. The horrors of these last fires started in late August/early September when he travelled, as part of a Strike Team, north towards the border with Queensland. He went to fires that never seemed to end. He has constantly been battling the fires that broke out in and around the Blue Mountains before Christmas. These fires are still burning.
I am very proud of my husband, and I totally support him in his endeavours to help people and their homes. But in saying that, I often feel very worried, as I know other wives and partners of RFS members are, too. When you kiss your partner goodbye as they leave you to fight these horrific fires, you never ever know if you’ll ever see them again!
RFS members volunteer for this unpaid job for many reasons. Some as their parents had been members before them; others for a sense of community, or some because they feel somebody has to do it and they can’t sit by and watch when something happens.
RFS members don’t just put fires out. When required, they help the police, often working in dangerous situations. They carry injured people to safety and retrieve bodies. They help look for missing people, manage emergency road closures and act as first responders. They also help the State Emergency Services (SES – another unpaid volunteer organisation) when homes are seriously damaged.
The one thing I’ve found perfect to occupy my mind when Bob is on duty is reproducing an antique sampler. I find that the intense concentration needed calms my nerves and helps me relax. An unknown little girl is my companion. Through our time together I learn her secrets, and I enjoy what she wants to tell me about herself. The hours fly past, measured by the steady tick tock of the nearby clock and our old dog quietly snoring away underneath my worktable.
In the last few months Bob has been on constant duty, so I have spent much time reproducing samplers. Jane Marshall was a sampler that I reproduced when he was away for several days battling a fire as part of a special Strike Team.
Jane’s sampler was purchased in Australia, and we think that it is possible that “our” Jane was baptised on September 14th, 1846 in Cook VC, NSW. An area, now known as Shoalhaven, that has been affected by the bush fires.
We believe that Jane came to HATS for a purpose; it was quite by accident that we found her. The night Nicola and I stumbled across her, we were spending time “together,” both of us stitching and chatting, via a video call. Nicola was keeping me company as Bob was away from home fighting a fire.
We are certain that Jane would approve of her sampler being used to raise funds for the Rural Fire Services of Katoomba/Leura and Wentworth Falls. The brigades need to replace equipment lost fighting these horrific fires, and we hope that with your donations we can help them.” ~ Sandra
Suzanne, the first model stitcher to join team HATS, and her husband Tim, who is one of our photographers, will explain why they chose Wentworth Falls RFS.
“My husband Tim and I have both been members of the NSW Rural Fire Service for many years, and in years gone by we spent many days together on the fireground protecting the community of Wentworth Falls.
Joining in 1993, before the devastating 1994 Sydney bushfires, Tim was only 19 when he began his bushfire fighting journey. I joined in 1995 shortly after we met. Fighting countless small fires and large campaign fires, Tim has been an ongoing member for 26 continuous years, fulfilling numerous field and administrative roles, including 24 years as a Deputy Captain and 5 years as the brigade president.
After a protracted period of significant rainfall deficiency and the development of the most severe drought in recent history, the NSW bushfire season got off to a devastating start in late July. Fuelled by hot dry desert wind and an already parched landscape, northern NSW erupted in what would signal the beginning of one of the worst bushfire seasons since European settlement.
Tim commenced his operational duties in early November 2019 with a bushfire believed to have started from escaped embers from an earlier house fire. Days after this and faced with catastrophic fire danger, Tim provided fire prediction expertise in the State operations centre, using mathematics and fire science to predict the potential impact zones of running bushfires under the influence of hot dry winds. As a result of the catastrophic fire day, the massive Gospers Mountain fire began its march towards the outskirts of Sydney and Tim’s operational duties increased in tempo, requiring regular crews day in and day out.
Following a spate of thunderstorm activity, the bushfire danger significantly escalated in the Blue Mountains with numerous lightning ignitions, and Tim was required to fulfil numerous roles, including firefighting, crew leading as well as higher leadership roles as the emergency unfolded. In Tim’s words, “in my short 26 years of volunteer firefighting service, I haven’t seen anything quite like this. Mother nature is angry and she wants answers.”
At this point in time, Tim has fulfilled 31 firefighting shifts equating to about 465 hours of firefighting-related activity in 7 weeks.
At home, this fire season has been extraordinarily difficult, not only because he has been away for 16 hours a day, missing out on spending time with the children, but also because I can’t be out there with him doing something we both loved to do together. Leaving before the sun rises and coming home shortly before midnight often leaves us with 10 to 15 short minutes to share our days with each other.
So what do I do while Tim is away, with the children on their summer holidays and the outside temperature regularly scorching hot, having reached 48.9 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) on one day?
In addition to filling the void left behind by Tim being constantly on the fireground, I have been stitching a new model for HATS. Stitching helps me escape the stress of not having Tim home when I really need him and the worry about what he may be going through without me. The children have been helping by putting together snack packs for Tim to take with him to make sure Daddy has something to nibble on during the long tiring shifts.” ~ Suzanne
THANK YOU to everyone for their generosity – it is overwhelming the support for our fund raiser!