The past month may have felt like an eternity for many St Thomas Aquinas School students and staff hit hard by the Linksview bushfire disaster, but it only took a matter of seconds for their spirits to soar during a surprise “morale-boosting” visit by The Wiggles last Wednesday.
The arrival of the band loved by millions of children around the world generated an instant roar and sea of smiles in the school hall — their on-stage energy proving infectious during an hour-long show that got everyone up and wiggling, including proud principal Sergio Rosato.
The Wiggles donated a new hand-made guitar to Mr Rosato to replace the treasured one he’d lost when his home was destroyed in the bushfire on October 17.
Sadly, 11 other staff and students at the school also lost their homes.
Clearly touched, Mr Rosato said the children were “absolutely thrilled” by The Wiggles’ visit.
“It’s a real morale booster for the community and the parish because there’s still a lot of angst as what happened sinks in,” he said.
“There’s a few elements to all this, there’s the people whose homes burnt but there are also the children who are living next door — and some have a sense of guilt about these neighbours’ and friends’ homes not being there anymore.
“This is a kind of resetting (process) for them that shows a hard thing has happened, but it can get better. This will help.”
The Wiggles arrived in Australia just two days before from a show in Dubai and were due to tour New Zealand within 48 hours, but made it a priority to fit in the visit to the school, which lead Wiggle Anthony Field has a family connection to.
In fact, the band had already packed and sent their best uniforms and stage equipment over to New Zealand, but their media officer told the Gazette she’d luckily kept some spare Wiggles skivvies for them to use.
“My sister Maria is part of the Blue Mountains community — her kids went to this school — and she told me about what happened here so we decided to come,” Mr Field said.
“With all their troubles, it is good [for the children] to go back to some fun — it’s a kind of comfort.”
Red Wiggle Simon Pryce said “we just wanted to put a smile on their faces”.