Ipswich: Ex-Witches ace on flooding front line

IPSWICH: A former Witches rider living in Queensland has spoken first-hand of the devastation caused by the flooding and his pride that Star readers are stepping in to help.

Lawrie Bloomfield, 45, moved to Queensland in 1990 and lives 40 minutes from Brisbane, he said that although the floods had not hit his village the devastation surrounding it was massive.

He said: “The rural roads around Brisbane, and in fact some of the main ones, are just completely flooded. The closer you get to Brisbane, the worse it gets.

“I have lived here for more than 20 years and I have never seen anything like this.”

He explained that in Queensland spring starts in September and ends in November – and this year’s was the wettest on record.

“We have had rain and wet weather since the beginning of September, and as the Wivenhoe Dam gets fuller and reaches capacity – water is having to be released from that.”

The father-of-four said that although they were lucky to have escaped the worst of the devastation so far.

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But added: “We only had four or five days in December that were completely dry.

“The scary thing is that the wet season is yet to come and we have all been hearing that there might be a few cyclones on the way in the coming weeks and months.”

Mr Bloomfield, who rode with Ipswich Witches speedway team before moving to Queensland, is worried that Ipswich in Queensland could be at greater risk because it is nearer to the dam.

The big clean up is under way in Australia, with thousands volunteering to help – something Mr Bloomfield described as “community spirit at its best”.

But the news that support is on its way from his native country gave him a huge boost.

He said: “I am so overwhelmed by all the support that has been coming in from back home – it makes me proud to be born and bred from Suffolk, England.

“This support is so needed and it is so great to see everyone back home is supporting us and I personally have been inundated with people wishing us all well.

“Thank you all so much over there in Ipswich, Suffolk – it is this support that is keeping a lot of people going.”

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