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Sport stars go in to bat

BRETT STUBBS | The Mercury | January 12, 2013 12.01am

It took a conversation with his firefighting uncle for Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to fully realise the destruction caused by the bushfires to his home state.

Wade's uncle, Andy Howe, the father of Melbourne AFL footballer Jeremy, lives at Dodges Ferry and was one of the many firies fighting the flames on the Tasman Peninsula.

"I just got home from the [Sydney] Test match and probably didn't realise how significant the fires were down here," the Melbourne-based Wade said.

Wade spent yesterday at Sorell packing boxes at the recovery centre, then later joined Test teammate Ben Hilfenhaus at a junior clinic organised by Cricket Australia, Cricket Tasmania and headspace.

"I went to the relief centre and spoke to the volunteers and that's probably one thing that hit home -- how many volunteers there are and how many are willing to help and donate," he said.

"I'm fortunate to be in this situation where I can create this type of attention, I suppose, but it is the people who go unnoticed who do so many tireless hours over there and it hit home when I went there."

The Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat have donated signed shirts and bats for an auction ahead of tonight's Big Bash game at Blundstone Arena with all proceeds to go to the bushfire appeal.

Heat coach Darren Lehmann said his team knew what Tasmanians had been through.

"A couple of years ago we had the floods in Queensland and the cricket community got behind us then and all the states helped out, so it is just a little thing we can do by auctioning off some signed tops from the Brisbane Heat, but also helping out in any way," Lehmann said.

Courtesy of The Mercury

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