Appeal set up to help volunteer firefighter

Clevedon Volunteer Firefighter Tembile Mvimbi (centre) with fellow volunteer firefighter Ben Herlihy (left) and Deputy Chief Office – Bruce Jones. Times photo Wayne Martin.

Tembile Mvimbi, a Clevedon Volunteer Firefighter was devastated on receiving the shocking news during a brigade practice evening that his father had been shot in an armed robbery in South Africa.

Wanting to help Tembile’s young family in need of assistance during a very tough time, fellow volunteer firefighter Ben Herlihy set up a Givealittle page saying: “Our fellow Clevedon Volunteer Firefighter, Tembile Mvimbi, who is a local sharemilker and young father received the awful news that his father was shot and murdered during an armed robbery in South Africa.

“We are appealing to the Clevedon community, the Fire and Emergency NZ Family and Dairy Farming community on his behalf for contributions to help pay for his flight home for his father’s funeral and to aid his young family during this stressful time.”

“Funds that are raised will be used to pay for Tem’s flight to South Africa and help his young family cope with living costs whilst he is away.”

The amount raised from 38 donations was $2215, a big help for Tembeli to fly to Johannesburg and drive 10 miles further into the interiors of the village, but Ben says “Tembeli is a super genuine guy who needs more help”.

“It’s a huge financial strain as he lives on the farm with a young family and leases it.”
Apart from the trauma of discovering that his father was attacked the minute he got off the bus to collect his pension, Ben says that the costs of flights and burial amounted to well over $5000.

“He just returned on Tuesday from South Africa and visited the fire station to say how grateful he is to the Clevedon community for the financial help provided.

“However, further donations would be welcome,” says Ben about his fellow worker who has been a Volunteer fire fighter for seven years. He hopes the donations go up to $3500.

The Clevedon Volunteer Fire Brigade donated $500 from their member’s welfare fund.

Clevedon Chief Fire Officer, Mike Kelly added, “Tem moved to Clevedon earlier in the year and one of the first things he did was to approach the fire brigade to offer his service as he was previously a member of the Ngatea Fire Brigade.

“He quickly proved to be a valuable member of our team. It’s only right that we as a community can step up when someone who volunteers their time to assist the community the way firefighters do is in need from such tragic circumstances.”

The Clevedon Fire Station that is run by around 16 volunteers who work mainly in the evening, middle of the night, on weekends and as and when they are available, Ben says “they are good bunch of people who want to give back to the community.”

A high percentage of the work they do involves motor vehicle accidents, but call outs are varied and can also include property and scrub fires, clearing roads during storms and occasionally even pulling horses out of a drain or providing education for local kindergartens.

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