Like all of us, Ash Thomas was horrified and heartbroken by the tragic house fire in Singleton last week which claimed the lives of three young children. But he didn’t just want to offer sympathy, he wanted to help in some small way.
Five-year-old twins Matylda and Scarlett, and their 11-year-old brother Blake lost their lives after a fire engulfed their Hunter Valley home on June 26. Their mother Kara Atkins, and their sister Bayley, were pulled through a window by neighbours and survived the tragedy. Kara is the niece of GBOTA member Tony Atkins and his wife Robyn, who run the Tara Greyhound Equipment company.
“I was looking on Facebook, and I knew of the tragedy, and I suddenly saw a picture of the four little children and it truly brought it home to me,” Ash said on Wednesday. “At that time, I didn’t know which one had survived and it really got to me to be honest and I wanted to do something. I didn’t know what that something was at that moment, but I wanted to help out in some way.
”I didn’t know Tony personally. I’ve bought some stuff off him over the years through his Tara Greyhound business, and we have recently spoken on the phone, but I’ve never met him.”
What Ash has come up with - and a large portion of the greyhound community has jumped on board with - is to auction a seven-month-old pup by Aston Dee Bee out of Thinkalot, at Wentworth Park on July 13, the night of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic and the Group 1 Peter Mosman Opal finals.
Ash is planning that all proceeds from the auction will go into a trust fund for Bayley.
“I’m obviously not the only one doing something, and I know there is other fund raising going on, but I’ve spoken with Tony and I asked him if it would be alright if I targeted this one to the young girl who survived, eight years old Bayley, and I thought maybe it could be called something like Bayley’s Future,” Ash explained.
“You just can’t imagine what they are going through, and anything we can do as an industry to help in any way, we must do.”
The support that Ash has received from others in the industry has already been astounding, and there will be nothing for the successful bidder on July 13 to pay until the pup is ready to go to a trainer and race.
“We have the rearing covered for the remaining time it is reared thanks to Chris and Sarah Kedwell, the pre-breaking work will be taken care of by myself and my wife Kylie, then the breaking will be done by Chris and Sandra Spratt at Sunnylodge at Cudal, then the pre-training will be looked after by Rob and Natina Howard at Keinbah,” Ash explained.
“We have also received donations of food from Kirkwood’s at Singleton and Kankool Pet Food, plus $250 vouchers from Greyhound Products Direct and Greyhound Gear.
“All the vet work between now and when the dog makes it to the track, is covered by Peter Yore from Belmont Vets, and interstate buyers should get involved because Mines Transport have come on board and they will transport the pup anywhere in Australia.
“Tara Greyhounds, are also putting together a package of greyhound equipment. So as you can see it’s not just a pup for auction it’s the full package, and we’re very hopeful everyone will rally behind this cause and help raise some valuable money for young Bayley.”
Also added to the auction will be straws to Moriera, Lochinvar Marlow, Chevy Prince, Dyna Double One, Fast Time’s, Awesome Project, No Donuts, and Fabregas.