Celeste Barber’s funds start flowing to firies
More than half of the record-breaking $52 million raised by comedian Celeste Barber for fire relief has now been received by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
Mrs Barber, who is best known for parodying celebrity's Instagram photos, initially hoped to raise $30,000 but instead inspired 1.3 million people from all over the world to dig deep.
The NSW RFS confirmed on Friday $29 million had been transferred to its PayPal account from the fundraiser.
A NSW RFS spokesman said the organisation was "thankful for the incredible support shown to our volunteers through public donations" and now had to address how to distribute the funds.
While Mrs Barber previously took to social media and said she was "going to make sure" Victoria, South Australia and the families of those who died in the fires received some of the donations, the reality is more complicated.
As the funds were raised for the NSW RFS Donations Trust, there are rules relating to how the money can be spent.
"The Service is working with other parties to look at ways of distributing these funds but these are complex issues and will take time to resolve," the NSW RFS spokesman said.
Mrs Barber, who has 1.7m followers on Facebook and a further 6.8m on Instagram, now holds the record for the biggest Facebook fundraising campaign.
She also hosted the Make It Rain - Fund the Firies Fundraiser in Byron Bay where she took to the stage with Hollywood heavyweights Chris and Liam Hemsworth.
The two-night event cost $49 to attend and featured live music which included Spiderbait, Tex Perkins and Wolfmother.
The bushfires were close to home for Mrs Barber whose mother-in-law was caught up in the Eden blaze on NSW's south coast.
Speaking to media while being evacuated from the wharf, Joy Robin said they'd "been abandoned".