Villers Bretonneux in the Somme digs deep for Australian bushfire relief

Do not forget Australia.
Over the last 4 months, Australia has been subjected to the assault of uncontrollable and incredibly violent fires. 6 million hectares of land have been devastated, 34 men and women have died and 1 billion animals have also perished in the flames.

For more than 100 years, the destinies of Australia and the departement of the Somme in Northern France have been closely intertwined. The Samariens are deeply moved by the recent events and wish to express their support and solidarity with the people of Australia.

These events have created indestructible links between Australia and the Somme, as well as a strong friendship. Today our hearts go out to the Australian people, as we see the hell they are enduring. A movement of support and solidarity is growing.

- The local media and authorities are contributing:

the Courrier Picard is collecting messages of support from the local population, sent to soutienaustralie@courrier-picard.fr, which will be transferred to the Australian Embassy, an initiative which is relayed by the Conseil départemental de la Somme.

- Different collections

have been started in support of the fire service, the population and humanitarian aid NGOs.

- A March of 02 February in Villers-Bretonneux

On 2nd February the town of Villers-Bretonneux held a march with more than 700 people in support of those who have been affected by the fires, in the presence of Brendan Berne, Australian Ambassador to France, and has set up an online collection www.leetchi.com/c/villers-bretonneux-pour-laustralie (External link) in aid of Robinvale Fire Service and the reconstruction of a town.

- the Anzac Run in Vignacourt

The organisers of the traditional Anzac Run held a Solidarun on 18th January: a 5km walk and run at Vignacourt. All donations were transferred to an aid organisation for the victims of the fires.

- The sound of bagpipes

will ring out on the cathedral forecourt in February and on the eve of Anzac Day as Samarobriva pipes and drums and the Somme Fire Service take part in “Play for Australia” event.

- Somme Tourisme

Somme Tourisme has sent a message of support to all of the Australian tour operators with whom they work, relayed on social media, and is contributing to the aid collection set up by the town of Villers-Bretonneux.