Bendigo sends simple message of support

MESSAGES of support are on their way from Bendigo to the grieving community of Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 primary school students and eight adults were killed in a shooting massacre.

Children yesterday created cards and artwork as part of a workshop run by local organisation PEACE.

A large mural was also painted and will be sent to Sandy Hook Elementary, the school where the shooting occurred Saturday morning Australian time. 

PEACE president Phil West said the simple messages were a small gesture which could make a big difference to people on the other side of the world.

Among the children writing cards, nine-year-old Rayce said he was sad for the families of the victims when he found out about the massacre.

“I’m writing that I’m sorry for the parents. That shouldn’t happen,” he said.

Nine-year-old Beau said he was also hoping the events would never be repeated. “I wrote that I’m really sorry that it happened. I hope they have a good Christmas.”

Bendigo Spirit basketballers joined in the workshop to add their expressions of support. 

US star Kelsey Griffin – who played three seasons in the WNBA in Connecticut – said she had brought along her team-mates to get behind the cause and help decorate the mural. “I think the horror of the event was so powerful, it’s just had an impact on so many people,” she said. “It puts things into perspective.

“If there’s any positive out of this it can help remind those grieving that they’re not alone.”

Bendigo mayor Lisa Ruffell said the thoughts of all of Bendigo were with people touched by the tragedy.

Mr West said staff from the US consulate in Melbourne had promoted the workshop on their social network sites and offered support for the delivery of the mural and cards.

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