Hi everyone, it’s Ve here.
I’m writing to you from New Zealand. After COVID kept me away for so long, I was finally able to visit home for Christmas, the first time in 4 years. Sadly not long into our trip my dad passed away very suddenly, Harry and I both extended our time in NZ to be with family.
Harry is now back in London and I was due to be flying out today, but on the night of Monday 13th another tragedy struck, cyclone Gabrielle. My home, the Esk Valley, was one of the hardest hit.
Shortly after the saddest time of my life, I was thrown into the most terrifying time of my life.
When I woke at 2am the water was already ankle deep in my room. Luckily the house I was staying in had a second floor above the garage we could get to, from there the rain and wind howled around us and we watched the water rise and rise, as it got lighter we could see it was a raging torrent that spanned the whole valley. Sheds and beds and concrete water tanks rolled past. As the water crept up to the second floor we made plans to climb onto the roof, but luckily for us it never came to that. Eventually the rain eased, the water stopped rising and in the morning I was rescued. I cried as I was jetboated to safety, through the vineyards I worked in as a teenager, the valley Dad spent his whole life cultivating, completely engulfed by the little river we grew up playing in.
The silt is over 1 meter high in places
and it has covered nearly everything
The devastation is heartbreaking, there are people and families that have lost everything, including their lives. My dad’s house (top image), with all his special things, that only days before we’d organised and lined up in his hallway to collect, reminders of our lovely father, all totally destroyed.
Of course I could not come back to London today. Instead I have been digging the mud out of friends houses, clearing fallen trees from friends farms and saving little trees that are silted up in the orchards. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted, along with everyone else in Eskdale and in the other flood ravaged places in Hawkes Bay and beyond. There’s a long road ahead and it’s going to take a lot more than digging to rebuild these communities. If you are in the position to, I would really appreciate it if you considered supporting our fundraiser.
We are donating 50% of the net sales of this collection to the Hawkes Bay Foundation Cyclone Relief Fund to help those who have lost everything after the devastating Cyclone Gabrielle struck. You can read an overview of the devastation in Eskdale at the Guardian HERE
All items are made to order. Please allow a lead time of 7-14 days for your order to ship once we get through our initial stock.
Don’t need another bag but still want to donate? We have a donation page, with donation amounts from £1.00. All proceeds go to the Hawkes Bay Foundation