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Locals rally to support elderly couple

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 13:08 29/04/2014
roof on street
LUCKY BREAK: No one was injured when the George’s roof crashed on to Whangaparaoa Rd.
Ray and Alice George
CLOSE CALL: Ray and Alice George are happy to survive their house disaster. They are staying in temporary accommodation.

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An elderly Auckland couple left without a home after Cyclone Ita is overwhelmed by the community's response.

But Ray and Alice George have no contents insurance so it may still be a year before they can move back in.

The roof blew from their Glenelg Rd two-storey house in the suburb of Red Beach and landed on nearby Whangaparaoa Rd, just missing traffic.

Ray, 80, was hit on the forehead by a falling ceiling panel while Alice, 91, was struck on the leg and badly bruised.

Both were evacuated and taken to North Shore Hospital with minor injuries.

But they were left with only the clothes they wore and are still recovering from the shock.

"It was just pure luck we got out of the place before the whole ceiling gave way," Ray says.

The Georges returned home that afternoon but were denied entry because of safety risks.

"Everything was cordoned off and we weren't allowed in the house," Alice says.

Ray's son Kerry was eventually given safety equipment and escorted into the property by a security guard.

He collected some clothes for them and Ray's father's war medals.

The house was exposed to the bad weather for 24 hours until a cover was put over.

The Georges have been given temporary accommodation by their insurance company at The Nautilus apartments in Orewa.

They have spent some of the time looking towards their home and wondering what they have left.

Alice remembers a "shambles" with glass everywhere. She thinks glass cabinets housing photos and mementos were all smashed.

"We don't know even know the condition of the furniture, but with the roof off everything will be waterlogged," Alice says.

Ray has owned the property for 40 years and Alice moved in 10 years ago when they married after their previous spouses died. "He's got so many records and different photos that we've lost," Alice says.

Ray, a former professional roller skater and the retired manager of Woolworths Whangaparaoa, is concerned about the photos of colleagues from the Buffalo Lodge and the Silverdale RSA.

Tomorrow the Georges will move into an unfurnished Red Beach flat.

Silverdale RSA welfare officer and Hibiscus and Bays Local Board member Janet Fitzgerald posted a plea for help on the Hibiscus Coast group Facebook page last Tuesday.

She is amazed at offers of furniture, gift cards and money.

Leanne Willis has set up a givealittle page for Ray and Alice and is coordinating donations.

Anyone with furniture to donate is asked to email photos to leanne@laserdirect.co.nz so she can determine what is needed .

Gift cards should be from businesses easy for Ray and Alice to access, such as Farmers, The Warehouse or Countdown.

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"I'd really like to get their fridge-freezer stocked to help get them started," Leanne says.

Gift cards should be made out to Ray and Alice and sent to PO Box 43, Whangaparaoa.

Go to givealittle.co.nz and search for Ray and Alice or deposit funds into Westpac bank account 03-0389-0792148-000.

- Rodney Times

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