Eight months after fire destroyed his property and burnt him, Roy Annesley is still fighting

It's been nearly eight months since Roy Annesley defeated all odds to survive the Williams Hill Rd fireball.

This week the Guardian News paid Roy a visit to see how he's faring.

Roy with the motorbike he'd been riding when the fireball flew up the valley and enveloped him.

Roy with the motorbike he'd been riding when the fireball flew up the valley and enveloped him.

Understandably, after losing his house, dog, sheep, ute, bike, and sustaining life-altering burns to half his body, Roy has his good days and his bad.

The money donated by strangers all over the world through the GoFundMe account his son set up for him was used to purchase a second-hand car, a bus to sleep in, a generator and a few bits and bobs to allow him to return to the place he's called home for the past twenty years or so.

He said he'll be eternally grateful for the expert care he received at Concord Hospital in Sydney.

Roy in hospital - photo taken by his son in December.

Roy in hospital - photo taken by his son in December.

"It's amazing how they've fixed me - I had no skin on me arms at all. I'm thinking about going back this Christmas - one year after it all happened - to say a proper thanks," he said.

And he's surprised and grateful for the care and concern people have shown him in this Valley.

Richard Pring, the paramedic who was the first responder after Roy's ordeal and got him safely to hospital, has been particularly supportive.

"He came and visited me in the hospital, he rings me to make sure I'm ok all the time, and he's visited me here - these are just things I wouldn't expect," Roy said, gratefully.

A kind Hyland Park local, Zoe, helped him out with an old caravan, and Bellbrook man, Adz Dat-Smedo, volunteered his services to get it up to Williams Hill Rd.

Roy has knocked up a makeshift tin roof which is almost successful in keeping the rain out. And a new kitchen has been fitted out in the caravan.

Another generous local from Taylors Arm donated two water tanks to him.

"Everyone's good wishes, donations, offers of help and prayers are what keeps me going - without that I have nothing," he said.

Roy's motorbike before the firestorm.

Roy's motorbike before the firestorm.

Workers have been on site to clear the rubble of his shack, which included one asbestos-laden wall.

And the Red Cross and the Salvos have come through in a big way for him, with grants for rebuilding work.

But Roy is currently finding it difficult to rebuild his life. He is currently in the middle of a bitter property dispute, and is worried he'll be evicted at any moment.

And council were unable to supply him with a pod or a port-a-loo because of the question over his legal right to be on the property.

"My whole life's in limbo. I'd like to set up two shipping containers and put a roof over the top. But I don't want to put down anything permanent because I may get kicked off at any minute," he said.

Sometimes I feel like I should just leave and try to find somewhere else. But I want to be here - I've wanted a shack in the bush since I was six-years-old. This is home. This is where I'm comfortable.

Because of the serious nature of his burns, Roy is unable to work.

"I used to be a mill worker for years and I feel like I've lost my identity because I don't have a job now," he said.

He keeps busy by tinkering with his current set-up - installing gas to his caravan, putting a new motor in his car.

But his injuries make even that difficult.

"The skin on my feet is so soft that I've got a few ulcers on the soles of me feet, and I can only wear ugg boots," he said.

"I can't stand on them for long because I get pins and needles and shocks."

I've still got no feeling in me hands - the other day a nail from a pallet went straight through my finger and I didn't feel it.

"And it affects even the little things you usually take for granted. I can't grab chips out of a packet - I've got to pour them into my hand. And I've got to watch when I smoke a cigarette that ash doesn't fall on my fingers."

And he's sick of having to repeat his story to each agency that comes to work with him.

"I would have liked to have had one person who knew what happened to me to come out to me, instead of me having to go to them," he said.

"I reckon the government should have appointed one bushfire coordinator person per case."

But for all the trauma Roy has experienced over the past eight months, he's adamant about one thing.

"Don't call me a bushfire victim - I'm not a victim," he said.

His mental health is up and down, but he refuses to let his circumstances own him.

I've got too much to do - that's why I didn't crawl up and die. I didn't think about how to survive, I just did it.

"And that's what I've got to do now. I can't wait for everything to just happen -I've just got to go and do it."

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