Girl Guides leader redefines the 17th

From tomorrow the 17th will have new meaning for Winmalee’s Jasmine “Jacaranda” Cook and her family.

The Girl Guides leader, who lost her home in 335 Singles Ridge Road last October 17, will be involved in a ceremony with their Royal Highnesses tomorrow.

“I said to the girls [the guides] and to [daughter] Brianna, for us it’s going to change the meaning of the 17th, now it will be the Royals came on the 17th, forget the fires, the Royals came,” she said.

“I’ve been trying to get all their sashes right,” she added.

About 25 families from Ellison Public School lost their homes during the October firestorm and the Cooks were one of them. But Jasmine Cook had also started chemotherapy for a brain tumour the week before. She is still having treatment.

“I’m taking it one day at a time ... I love the guides, they’ve got me through ... and the Royals are going to bring us luck,” Mrs Cook, who has another four months of treatment left, said.

Brianna, 11, who has been a guide for more than three years, said she felt “a lot of guilt” she would see Prince William and Kate as other friends from school who lost their homes might not.

“Six months ago a lot of people’s lives changed forever ... this is important, it’s about picking up the pieces,” Guides district manager Dianne Strahan said.

On the night the Gazette visited, girl guide mothers said they were keen to help out with babysitting duties, should baby George, the third in line for the throne, make an appearance in the Mountains.

“We’ve all had our working with children checks, there are 13 babysitters here and we’d all love to babysit George,” one guide leader and mother said.

Mrs Cook echoed the sentiment. “I’d give up seeing Kate and Wills to babysit George,” she said laughing.

But with a packed schedule and only one day in the Mountains that seems unlikely.

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