Couple caught up in New Zealand quake fundraise for victims

Many roads were rendered impassable
Many roads were rendered impassable

A WILLINGDON couple who experienced the earthquake in New Zealand have helped to raise £1,000 for the Christchurch victims.

Melanie and Alan Lee, who live in Willingdon Village, were staying in their Cashmere Hills holiday home, near where the devastating earthquake hit around three weeks ago.

Houses were wrecked in the earthquake

Houses were wrecked in the earthquake

The couple were visiting their 28-year-old daughter Sarah Lee, who lives in Christchurch and runs a photographic business.

Melanie, 57, who was sitting in a parked car at the time of the tremor, said, “It was the most frightening experience of my life.

“I was thrown around in the car like a rag doll.”

Husband Alan, 59, was in a shop and was sheltering with staff in a door frame.

Melanie added, “We then had to go and find our daughter and as we were driving we could see the tarmac road moving.”

Melanie’s good friend Jo Giles was in an office in central Christchurch during the earthquake and tragically lost her life.

The couple’s holiday home was also one of the many buildings in and around the city to suffer damage in the quake.

Melanie said, “What a lot of people forget is that they are still having 18 to 20 aftershocks so people’s nerves are in shreds.

“Christchurch is such a beautiful city so it is so sad to see all the old buildings come down.

“We just felt we had to do something because so many people have lost their houses and their lives.”

Melanie and Alan organised a fundraising evening with their friends Anne and Finn Kennedy, who live in Firle and were also in New Zealand at the time of the quake.

The fundraiser took place in Firle Village Hall and the £1,000 raised from the evening will be sent to the Mayor’s Fund in Christchurch to help people who lost their homes and belongings in the natural disaster.

More than 70 people attend the evening and watched a picture slide show of the devastation in Christchurch.