Words flow for a friend and city

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Nanjing Night Net

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IT was a poem Brooke McPherson had never wanted to be inspired to write, but it has spread like a virus online and already brought many Goulburn people to tears – including the mayor, Geoff Kettle.

After hearing about the tragic death of Matt Pugh and the subsequent fundraising undertaken by a group of young Goulburn people to help out family and friends, Brooke said she was filled with mixed emotions of loss and pride in her town.

So moved, in fact, that she decided to put pen to paper, or the digital version of that, and record her thoughts in the form of a poem on her online blog.

“I’d only started the blog a few weeks ago as a bit of a creative outlet and I’d been really wanting to write a blog post about people who bag Goulburn and stuff like that,” Brooke said.

“Then when this happened, I felt a bit overwhelmed at Matt’s death, and then the fundraising and outpouring of support, and the poem came together in about 30 minutes.”

Person after person read the poem, moved by its simplicity and clear message of pride in our town, and one of those people was the daughter of deputy mayor, Bob Kirk. Cr Kirk took the poem with him to last Tuesday’s night’s council meeting and presented it to some of the councillors and staff, and their reaction was unanimous.

“It’s just bloody inspiring,” said Cr Kirk.

“As someone who has lived away from Goulburn for some years, I think she hit the nail on the head about how great a place we have here and how it’s always a part of you.” Cr Kettle didn’t get a chance to read the poem until after the meeting, but when he did he said he was deeply moved.

“I said to Bob that I didn’t know the woman who wrote the poem or the young man who’d passed away but that I wish I did,” Cr Kettle said.

“I asked for her number and rang her up. We talked for probably five minutes and I thanked her for what she had written and how she’d touched a chord with lots of Goulburn people. She was also born and bred here and had lived away for a period like Bob and I, and many of us in Goulburn.”

For Brooke, whose degrees are in Commerce and Marketing, it was her first serious crack at a poem and the response to it has been overwhelming.

“Receiving a call from the mayor was a bit surreal,” she said.

“I had kids screaming in the background and my mind was elsewhere.

But I felt very humbled that people were touched by something that came straight from my heart.” Cr Kettle particularly liked the portions of the poem that took aim at people who live in town and continue to criticise the place.

“What she says about people bagging our community – I agree. Those people need to get out, spread their wings and have a look around to see what we have and how wonderful and rare it is,” he said.

“In her preamble to the poem she says it’s horrible that something shitty, if I can say that, happened in the first place and that’s true. It’s a horrible, tragic loss for the family.

“But from it we’ve had a reminder of the community spirit that surrounds us… the grass roots pride in the town and community.

“Support of friends and family in times of adversity means a lot and we live in one of the best parts of Australia for that.”

Cr Kettle said he was overwhelmed by the amount of money raised in support of Mr Pugh and said that amount, and the number of people who’ve joined in is a testament to what a great bloke he must have been and how much he was valued by this community.

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