A PEMBROKE crafter who launched a 500-strong group to help animals caught up in the devastating Australia fires is calling on volunteers to keep supporting charities helping the animals.

It is estimated as many as half a billion animals may have been killed in the fires, with many more needing help.

Kim Emens, of Main Street, was so moved by the plight of the many animals suffering that she set up Pembrokeshire Support for Australian Animal Rescue to provide help and support by crafting and creating produce nests, blankets, pouches, wraps, and other items for the animals.

All crafting globally is now on hold after the worldwide callout to crafters received an unprecedented response.

The resulting chaos from a worldwide global movement put even more pressure on Australian people and rescue groups, as packages were dispatched outside of the proper channels.

Pembrokeshire Support for Australian Animal Rescue has put all crafting on hold.

Kim said: “When I first set up the group Pembrokeshire Support for Australian Animal Rescue I had never, in my wildest dreams, anticipated how large the group would grow in the space of less than a week.

“Excepting 20-30 members it was somewhat overwhelming to have 500-plus members; members who all care and want to contribute. Being aware of the controls needed, the group did not advertise any address details and continued monitoring updates from correct sources.

“When the announcement came from Australia to put crafting on hold all members were immediately made aware. It did cause some confusion and a little disappointment, but it was important to keep Australia’s best interests to the fore at all times.

“I have, today, become quite distressed to hear how other crafting groups or their administrators in Australia have been subjected to extremely rude and cruel comments or private messages from around the world, because of the ‘cease crafting’. These are obviously people with misdirected motives. With this in mind I would like to say that out of 550-plus members of the group, 99.9 per cent responded with grace and understanding. That is a huge testament to the integrity and patience of Pembrokeshire people.

“A lot of groups have been asked to cease crafting indefinitely. We are, currently, one of those groups. I am keeping group members updated and offering advice on what to do with items already finished. In addition, on the sage advice coming from Australia, we are now looking at how crafting can help causes closer to home.

“However, this does not mean we are shying aware from our promised support. We will continue to arrange fund raising events (which are still in the planning stage) and encourage on-line cash donations direct to Animal Rescue Collective in Australia. https://mkc.org.au/donations/trcqld."

Kim added: “It is Australia Day on Sunday, January 26. I think it would be amazing if we show our support and help lift their spirits (they will not feel very much like celebrating) if as many people as possible made a donation on that day, no matter how small, using the link above. I have made a test donation of $1aus (equivalent to approximately £0.54). It can be done, if that is all you can afford.”