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Community patrol ride-along eases young resident’s fears


Flaxmere youngster Emily Keenan used to sometimes feel scared going out, but a recent ride-along with the local community patrol has eased her fears.

Ten-year-old Emily has lived in Flaxmere all her life and recently wrote to mayor Sandra Hazlehurst to share her concerns about some of the people she would come across while out and about.

“Flaxmere is an amazing place to live - I like it because I know a lot of people,” she wrote.

“But I don’t like how people hurt others and are mean to others. I think that we all need to at least show a little more care for others … some of these people have really made me anxious and scared … I love how we are the fruit bowl but what I don’t love is how people do not treat our homes as they should.

“We need to stop hurting others and stop being mean and get a grip and sort ourselves out. I am not asking for a big change I am asking for a peaceful city and home to live.”

Mrs Hazlehurst was touched that Emily had taken the time to write and thanked her for sharing her concerns and thoughts.

 “It is great for me to know that we have outstanding young people like yourself in our beloved suburb of Flaxmere who are so wise and aware of others - it is you all who will make our place great!” she replied.

She then invited Emily to come to council and talk about how to help make her feel safer.

It was put to the Flaxmere Community Patrol volunteers that they may like to take Emily out on the road with them.

The patrol’s immediate past president and co-ordinator Bert Lincoln and police liaison officer Bruce Millar met with Emily and her parents first to discuss her concerns.

Impressed with her courage and concern, they and patrol co-ordinator Jane Goodacre gladly organised a time for Emily and her father to join them for an evening to see what they do.

“We took her around and showed her where we go and reassured her that we were there being preventative as the eyes and ears for the community who report back to the police if we see suspicious activity,” Mrs Goodacre said.

Emily said she felt better after having been out and knowing the community patrol was there.

“It made a difference.”

Emily’s father Farley Keenan said it was heartening that his daughter had been taken seriously.

“I really appreciate that the voice of a child was listened to - it’s good to know that’s what our community is about.”

The Flaxmere Community Patrol is made up of about 30 volunteers who drive around the Flaxmere, Twyford and Bridge Pa areas every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

Mrs Hazlehurst said the service, which was supported by the Hastings District Council, was a hugely valuable one. “We are so lucky to have these wonderful volunteers in our community.”


Pic caption: Emily Keenan, front right, and, from left, parents Charrissa and Farley Keenan, along with brother Niwhai Keenan, 9, were grateful to Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, back centre, Flaxmere Community Patrol immediate past president Bert Lincoln and current patrol co-ordinator Jane Goodacre for listening to their safety concerns.

14 March 2019

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