Lismore’s Roger Manby can finally get his life back, 18 months after the deluge
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In the early morning of February 28, 2022, Roger Manby was forced onto the roof of his home to escape floodwaters surging through the first floor of his home.
The 85-year-old sat on the corrugated iron in the driving rain, waiting six hours for help as the bursting Wilsons River – just a few hundred metres away - turned much of the insides of his home to what he calls “porridge”.
Above, Roger waits on his roof in February 2022 as help arrives.
After 18 months of repairs, Mr Manby has moved back to Casino Street, South Lismore and he’s delighted to be home.
“I don’t know where else I’d want to go – this is where I want to be,” he said.
“I think I went to 65 different countries when I was in the Navy by my count, so I’ve done my moving around.”
Mr Manby, a HammondCare At Home client, now has a home refitted with new walls and floors and a new kitchen and bathroom.
He had limited insurance cover, so he relied plenty on family and friends.
His son Jay, a local artist, provided much hands-on building new walls and floors while providing him with a bedroom at his home at Eltham, several kilometres from Lismore.
The HammondCare Foundation pitched in with some financial backing. Mr Manby was one of 11 HammondCare At Home clients who had their homes inundated. Another five HammondCare At Home staff who had their homes damaged also were helped.
The Foundation, the charity fundraising arm of HammondCare, raised $85,000 in 2022 specifically to assist clients and staff impacted by the floods. Another $10,000 was donated to the Lismore Flood Appeal.
Mr Manby’s son Rory, who recently relocated to the US for work, passed on a near-new fridge and large screen TV. Mr Manby says about his appliances: “I’ve now got better stuff than I’ve ever had before”.
A new air conditioning system with its compressor wisely perched high and dry on the roof has been installed for a bargain price. Bathroom tiles were leftovers from a supermarket contract.
“For 18 months I’ve been living in one room at my son’s place. I could stretch out on the right-hand side of the bed and the left-hand side and that was it,” he said.
“Now I have two bedrooms, a lounge room and a separate dining room and a kitchen. What more could you ask for?”
“This now feels palatial.”
The ground floor of his home will be left in an unrenovated state for now. Jay has plans to make it a work studio.
The impact of the flood was felt elsewhere in his family. His daughter Heather is participating in the buyback after her home on Ballina Road was overwhelmed by the disaster.
HammondCare At Home Northern Rivers Regional Manager Jodi Peel dropped by to see Roger at Casino St yesterday. Already his valued memorabilia from years of a career at sea is back hanging back on the walls.
"Listening to Roger share stories of his time in the Navy warms my heart. It's great to see Roger happy," Ms Peel said.
HammondCare CEO Mike Baird met with Mr Manby in September when HammondCare At Home opened its new regional headquarters in Lismore
“Everyone at HammondCare wishes Mr Manby the very best as he settles back into his home after having endured so much,” Mr Baird said.
“We are proud to continue to support him with his needs.”