Where do we start? Community wants to help Cluff family

DEVASTATION: Allison Hokin sits in the destroyed living area of her parents’ Cavanagh Lane home that was gutted by fire last Thursday. Shoalhaven residents are rallying to organise fund-raising events for the couple who lost everything in the blaze.

DEVASTATION: Allison Hokin sits in the destroyed living area of her parents’ Cavanagh Lane home that was gutted by fire last Thursday. Shoalhaven residents are rallying to organise fund-raising events for the couple who lost everything in the blaze.

There has been an outpouring of support for a West Nowra couple who lost everything in a house fire last week.

Rex and Carol Cluff’s Cavanagh Lane home was gutted by fire last Thursday afternoon, while they were at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, where Mr Cluff has been a patient for seven months after breaking his neck in a car accident at Dapto in February.

The South Coast Register’s website and Facebook page have been inundated with offers of help after revealing the family’s story.

Local woman, Denise Green is one reader determined to offer some sort of fund-raiser to help the family out.

She has been in contact with the couple’s daughter Allison Hokin and plans are being put into place to organise help for the family.

“We have a few ideas, it is only early days in the planning but like so many Shoalhaven people when I heard about what had happened and what the family has  been through I just wanted to help,” she said.

“Plans will be finalised when I can sit down with Allison and discuss the best way to go about things.”

The Cluffs returned to their gutted home at the weekend, witnessing firsthand the devastation of the fire that ripped through the property, or as it is becoming known “The home that Rex built”.

Ms Hokin said there was lots of tears as the family looked at the remains of their “once beautiful home”.

“There were as many laughs as there were tears, as we relived some memories,” she said.

A search of the badly damaged remains also revealed some precious family memories, including family photographs, Rex and Caroline’s wedding cards, Allison’s birthday cards and a wedding ring belonging to Rex’s grandmother.

The couple were only in town for the weekend with Mr Cluff making his first visit back to the area after suffering a broken neck in a car accident in Dapto in February, which has left him a quadriplegic.

The couple stayed in a local motel during their visit and then returned to Sydney on Monday so Mr Cluff could continue his treatment and rehabilitation.

Friends, who are currently travelling around Australia, have offered the couple their home while they are away, once Mr Cluff is well enough to move back to the area on a permanent basis.

As well as losing their house, the Cluffs also lost their family pet, 15-year-old toy poodle, Peggy, in the fire.

The last 12 months have been extremely hard for the family, with Mrs Cluff diagnosed with a heart condition, Mr Cluff with terminal prostate cancer nine months ago and then the accident seven months ago which left him a quadriplegic.

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