Gear donations delight victim of fire

00:56, Nov 07 2012
Benji Farrell surrounds himself with the shoes and clothes donated to him after his house burnt down on Saturday
HEART-WARMING: Benji Farrell surrounds himself with the shoes and clothes donated to him after his house burnt down on Saturday.

A man whose house burnt to the ground at the weekend said the community support had brought him to tears.

Benji Farrell lost everything when the Rahotu house he had been renting for four years was destroyed in an inferno on Saturday night.

After entering the burning home to search for his dog, everything began to collapse around him and he escaped seconds before an explosion inside blew out the windows and walls.

Yesterday the 36-year-old said he had mixed emotions of shock and overwhelming gratitude for those who'd offered support.

"I'm just going ‘wow' you know. I was a little teary eyed when all the phones calls and texts started coming in," he said.

Among the things Mr Farrell was most gutted about losing were his bodyboarding gear and trophies. But offers from the Ngamotu Bodyboarders to replace his gear had "warmed the heart," Mr Farrell said.

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Club president Kyle Adams said members had banded together to replace Mr Farrell's surfing gear.

"Yeah, a few of the boys got together and have got him a bodyboard and wetsuit so he can get back in the water," Mr Adams said.

Mr Farrell won the club's annual competition this year and was devastated the carved trophy had been lost in the blaze.

"We can replace a trophy, but we can't replace him," Mr Adams said.

"He's had a rough time and we just wanted to help him out."

The Coastal Boxing Club, which Mr Farrell belongs to, was also quick to donate money and a helping hand.

"One of the coaches just stopped the training and asked anyone if they would like to help and within a few minutes there was more than $100 in the hat," coach Mo Morgan said.

The club was also helping with gear and storage of everything that has been offered up, Mr Morgan said.

Mr Farrell said he had been flooded with clothes, shoes, offers of houses, furniture and bedding.

Taranaki Daily News