By Grace Jones
THE Great Southern community has rallied behind the family of much-loved North Albany Football Club member Paul Barnett, who died suddenly on July 22.
A gofundme page setup by a family friend has raised more than $9000 for Mr Barnett’s wife Tara and their young son Harry, giving them time to grieve their loss without the burden of financial hardship.
Mrs Barnett said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of community and family support.
“It’s absolutely amazing how much the community has come together for us,” she said.
“It’s shocked me, but I’m just so grateful and I want to thank everyone for helping me and Harry.
“The Albany community is big and wonderful, and I can’t say thank you enough.
“The money will not only help us for the next few months, but will also provide Harry with everything he’ll need for school.”
With permission from Mrs Barnett, family friend Sonya Aylmore set up the page for the community to donate money to.
“Tara and I have been working together for around two years,” Ms Aylmore said.
“I’m really close with Tara, and from her I really got to know Paul and Harry.
“After Paul passed away, the girls in the office were going to get her flowers, but we decided to put in a little cash instead.
“I opened the gofundme page and the amount of community support has been amazing.”
At last count the page had raised nearly $10,000 for the family, with many donators leaving their condolences on the page.
“I was reading through them, and there was so many names I didn’t know who donated,” Ms Aylmore said.
“I’m proud to call Albany home.”
Following Mr Barnett’s funeral last Friday, Mrs Barnett and Harry said they will remember Paul as an active man who loved his family and also loved to read the newspaper.
“In the morning, Paul would read the paper; it would drive me nuts sometimes,” she said.
“I hate bad news, so he would always read the good news to me.”
Mrs Barnett said Paul also loved to take Harry out for a ride.
“He would always take Harry out on his bike; it was their thing to do,” she said.