THREE separate traumatic events have plagued the Grafton hockey team Village Green Angels in the past three months, but the team has pulled together in inspirational fashion with each cloud boasting a silver lining.
Best known of the three is Suzie Pereira, whose six-year-old son Benji survived being hit by a car on Lawrence Rd, Grafton on October 21. DEX wrote of Benji's miracle story last Thursday.
But Suzie's trauma was not the first or last recent ordeal for members of the Angels.
Tiffany Felton's husband Graeme and her son Blake, 7, were involved in a car crash on the Gwydir Hwy near Waterview on September 6.
Though Blake was not injured, Graeme suffered a large graze to the top of his head when his car flipped on its roof after a head-on collision.
"I was in the wreckage and I heard someone on the phone to Triple 0. I don't know who it is but I'd like to thank them," said Graeme yesterday. "Also all the volunteers (RFS) and ambulance were fantastic. They gave Blake a bear made by the Red Cross and he still hangs onto that. I know Tiffany would like to thank them all."Graeme's injuries have taken eight weeks to heal and the Clarence Valley Council worker has only just returned to work this week.
"The Angels have been absolutely fantastic. They were the first on the phone to Tiffany when this happened," he said.
"They're a one-team club but they stick together."
Now to the third, and hopefully last, Angels' ordeal.
Leanne Pilbeam was out with her daughter Ashleigh three weeks ago when she came down with what a friend described as a "massive headache out of the blue".
She told Ashleigh she needed to get to the hospital immediately and within hours Leanne was flown to the Gold Coast Hospital where she was told she had suffered a cerebral aneurysm.
A week later Leanne underwent brain surgery where a stent was implanted in an artery.
Leanne, also known as Pilly, is a single mother of four children and lives in a two-storey home in Grafton which has been without a main bathroom for about two years. Though the family showers in a secondary downstairs bathroom, team-mate Rebecca Oseland knew the situation was far from ideal for Leanne's recovery.
Rebecca told her husband David and fellow Angel Libby Weldon's husband Noel, who began asking around for help.
Noel has since become the unofficial co-ordinator of a major renovation of Pilly's bathroom with in-kind, cash and product donations coming thick and fast from the Clarence Valley community.
Leanne, who knew nothing of the renovation when this story was penned yesterday, was headed home last night. It is hoped images and footage of the surprise unveiling will be published in tomorrow's DEX.
"The whole three months has just been incredible," said Rebecca yesterday. "You don't expect anyone to go through this, let alone three people that you are close to."
"It's a great story for Grafton. Half the people donating stuff and so much time don't even know Pilly."
The Angels club was formed 10 years ago but some of the members had been playing together for 20 years and two sets of mothers and daughters now play together.