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Firefoxes Founders

Introducing the Founding Members

Kate Riddell

Kate & Jemima - Firefoxes
Kate Riddell and Jemima Richards

Kate has lived in the Kinglake Ranges for 8 years. She is a married, full time mum with two young children, a part-time teacher and a Mental Health First Aid instructor. Kate also spends time in Queensland working with disaster affected communities.

Kate is passionate about the well being of her community. She is an emergency services volunteer in the Kinglake Community Emergency Response Team (volunteer ambulance service), sits on the board of the Kinglake Ranges Foundation, plays for the local tennis club, as well as being a founding member of the Murrindindi Toy Library and Kinglake Ranges Representative Group.

Kate, along with other members of CERT received an award by the Victorian Health Minister for their ongoing efforts during and after the fire, servicing those in need. Kate was awarded the Pride of Australia medal in 2010 and in 2011 she received an Emergency Services Foundation scholarship to complete research in America.

Kate has completed extensive studies -BA (Outdoor Ed.), Dip Ed (Secondary), Grad. Dip. (Social Ecology), M. App. Sci (Social Ecology)- which have fueled her passion for place, gender, communities and organisational change.

Jemima Richards

Jemima moved to Kinglake in 2007 with her husband David Exton, who’s family is one of the original pioneering families in Kinglake.  Her twenty-year career in the well-being and beauty industry and working closely with people, was useful in the smooth operation of the only private relief center in Kinglake that she set up and ran from her 50 acre property. This relief center engaged and serviced hundreds of community members in the initial weeks and months after Black Saturday. It also introduced her to many in the community and Australia wide.

Some of Jemima’s volunteer and work roles include, co-founding and the continued running of the expanding Firefoxes Australia organization, board member of the Kinglake Ranges Foundation, Ambassador for the Horse for Hope program, member of the Community On Ground Assistance (COGA) Alliance, and spending time in disaster-affected communities across Australia.

A new career in Motivational speaking, (Sharing the real story of community response, relief and recovery, the Firefoxes story and what is possible if you believe in yourself) consulting to Government and Service Agencies on Disaster Preparedness’, Response and Recovery, and a new business venture bringing cement and concrete products in waterproof packaging to the retail market, for the first time in Australia, keeps her on her toes!

Jemima’s work in, and for the community, has seen her receive the Paul Harris Fellow and the Pride of Australia medal in 2010. Nominations for the Pride of Australia medal in 2009, Victorian Honor Roll of Women in 2010.

Some of her speaking audiences have included Westpac, Lend Lease, Victoria Police, Elders, Launch of Red Shield Appeal for the Salvation Army, Kerferd Oration, Latrobe University, Rotary, Melbourne Tigers, Government Agencies, and Disaster Affected Communities all around Australia.

Jemima is forever positive and believes anything can be achieved with vision, determination and thinking outside the box…and a smile goes a long way too!

Firefoxes would not exist without the guidance and support of the fabulous Rowena Allen and Kaye Bradshaw, who were instrumental in guiding the Jemima and Kate through an organic process to see what was needed by the community once the attention went away. Forever grateful x