Former Durham cricketer Ash Thorpe raises £1,500 to support people affected by bushfires in his native Australia
A former Durham County Cricketer has raised hundreds to support those affected by the devastating bushfires in his home country of Australia.
Ash Thorpe, 44, hosted the fundraiser at Washington Cricket Club, raising £1,500 to support emergency services fighting the bushfires and those who have been forced to evacuate their homes, including Ash’s own mother, who still lives in the country.
Ash was born in New South Wales before joining Durham CCC in 2002, while his mother still lives in the town of Port Macquarie, where he was raised, and has been evacuated twice due to the dangers of the fires.
He said: “We had a great night, lots of the local community young and old came out and a few Aussies for good measure.
“Australia is always in my thoughts. To see close family, friends and wildlife impacted by these fires is heartbreaking.”
Ash, who is a part-time commentator for BBC Radio Newcastle, now plays for Washington Cricket Club and with their help, organised the charity night which featured live music, a raffle, fresh wood-fired pizza and authentic Aussie cake donated by Durham CCC bowler and fellow Australian, Nathan Rimmington.
Former Australian international and Durham CCC Director of Cricket, Marcus North, also donated one of his own signed test shirts for the raffle.
Hundreds of bushfires have burnt across Australia for months.
At least 33 people have been killed - including four firefighters - and more than 110,000 sq km of bush, forest and parks across Australia has burned, with thousands of homes destroyed.
Record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought have fuelled a series of devastating blazes.
Recent cooler conditions and rain have brought some respite, but more than 50 fires are still burning in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.
New South Wales is the worst-hit state, where more than 2,000 houses have been destroyed, and thousands of people have had to seek shelter elsewhere.
Smoke from the blazes has also become a hazard.
Earlier this month, the US space agency Nasa said it was expecting smoke from the blazes to make at least one full circuit of the globe.