“To know that certain plant and animal species may be wiped out is unfathomable. Birds were falling from the skies. Livestock reduced to charcoal in their paddocks. When I hear stories of koalas screaming as the infernos approached, I choke up."
“I’ve cried myself to sleep thinking about the hell those animals have gone through.”
As the bushfire horror gained momentum late last year, Val says she felt completely useless.
“If I were younger and more able, I would have held a hose or made sandwiches for the firies and rescue personnel. They have been selfless saviours, sacrificing their lives to help others."
“I don’t have much money, and what I do have I’ve donated to assorted wildlife charities and bushfire relief funds. This entire catastrophe has affected me profoundly.”
Overwhelmed, Val says she felt compelled to help. “I looked around the house for something to sell, and spotted my three Logies. So, I thought I’d offer one for auction on eBay, with all proceeds going to bushfire relief and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.”
Val, a 52-year veteran of stage and screen, says she cherishes her Logies and had planned to leave one to each of her kids, but she’s happy to make the sacrifice if the money raised can go to good causes.
“I’m amazed all these years on, fans are still crazy for Prisoner. The series ended 34 years ago, but it has become a cult in reruns, especially in the UK. I’m hoping there are some generous fans who’d like to battle it out for my 1982 Most Popular Lead Actress in a Series Logie. I’ve put a minimum bid of $2000 on it.”
Val has also reached out to the producers of Home and Away, offering her services as an actress and, in return, she’ll happily donate half of her fee to bushfire relief charities.
“I’ve appeared on every major Aussie drama series, from Neighbours and City Homicide to Blue Heelers and All Saints. But I’ve never guested on Home and Away,” admits the Prisoner icon.
“My Logies and my skills as an actress is really all I have to auction off.”
Last September Val moved from Queensland’s Macleay Island to Toowoomba with her two beloved dogs, Bogart and Blaze.
“I’d been living on the island for 11 years and began to feel isolated,” she says. “Since moving to Toowoomba, which is only a two-hour drive from Brisbane, I’ve made some great friends and feel involved in the community.
“The devastating drought crippling most of Australia really hit home when I was driving to the Bunya Mountains markets and I saw livestock dying of thirst by the side of the road. Trying to fathom how the farmers must be feeling breaks my heart.
“Hearing those incredible stories of amazing generosity and kindness from so many people only fortified my desire to help.”
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