News

Standing strong for the Whitsunday community

Sgt John Dickinson played a vital role in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.
Sgt John Dickinson played a vital role in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie. Rory Sheavils

SERGEANT John Dickinson barely slept for at least five days after Cyclone Debbie hit.

But while there was substantial damage to attend to at his Whitsunday home, his first priority in the direct aftermath of the cyclone was helping others.

Sgt Dickinson, who runs the Whitsunday PCYC, ensured the club operated as a make-shift Evacuation Recovery Centre, which with the help of the Red Cross and Salvation Army was able to cater food-wise for between 250-300 people including tradies, volunteers and people who lost their homes.

Mr Dickinson said the emotional toll suffered by many in the community was palpable.

"It's a major event and caused a lot of damage and just shows the community spirit and how well smaller communities band together and work together to help each other out," he said.

"At one stage we had someone come from Dingo Beach who collapsed here at the hall and paramedics sorted her out and gave her a meal because she hadn't eaten for a couple of days.

"We were having people coming to the club and breaking down in tears because they lost everything."

The Whitsunday PCYC, which has stood strong since Sgt Dickinson established it in 2002, took a battering from the inside, with himself, Cr Ron Petterson, the PCYC-run Youth Management Team members and parents hard at work for three and-a-half days to tidy up and resolve the water damage.

"There has been talk that from the outside PCYC didn't sustain much damage but when you get inside it's a different picture," Sgt Dickinson said.

"I set the club up from scratch in 2002 and it is pretty disheartening to see."

In light of damage caused to the club, Mr Dickinson said it could take until November before it returned back to normal.

But despite the chaos stemming from the aftermath, PCYC has still been able to organise a range of regular gymnastic activities from the Kipara hall.

Whitsunday Film Musical and Theatrical Society CEO Steve Wickett was one of many in the community who could see first-hand the role "Sgt John" had played in the community.

"Thank you John, and thanks to your amazing team for what you do for our community," he posted on Facebook.

"I know there are many like John, who put on a brave face and are rebuilding their lives, hats off to you all."

Mr Dickinson said he wanted to acknowledge the many other heroes who helped in the aftermath including the Police, Army, Salvation Army, Queensland Fire Service, Whitsunday Regional Council and more.

Topics:  cyclone debbie whitsunday pcyc


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

The world is invited to Whitsunday SESsions

Gavin "Butto" Butlin, Ellie Hanlon, Rob Cole, Mark Connors, Troy Jones and Kieran McCarthy (back) and Courtney Anderson, Daniel Moss, Leigh Munro (front) are ready to rock for Whitsunday SESsions.

Whitsunday SESsions will be live streamed across the world.

Council counts the cost of Debbie

The Airlie Beach Lagoon was closed due to damage from Tropical Cyclone Debbie in March.

It's a high cost to get the lagoon back to its original state

A warm Whitsunday welcome to Today Show

HANDS UP: Today Show weather presenter Natalia Cooper with Airlie Beach locals at Abell Point Marina yesterday morning.

The Today Show was welcomed to the Whitsundays this morning

Local Partners

New design coming to Airlie Beach roundabout

WHEN the Airlie Beach main street roundabout was stripped of its starfish one year ago, the question arose of what would replace it.

Debbie's graveyard: Major auction to clear written-off cars

Auto Repair and Towing Service owner Shane Muntelwit at the salvage yard behind Mackay Airport, which has become a graveyard for about 150 vehicles destroyed or written off by Cyclone Debbie.

A salvage yard has become a makeshift graveyard

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Rebel Wilson says she didn’t have to lie to make it

I’M not glamorous, but that doesn’t make me a liar: that’s the message from Rebel Wilson on her second day in the witness box.

All bets on Judah to win battle to become the Voice

Judah Kelly from The Voice.

Judah Kelly is the clear favourite to win the competition.

Pirates in Whitsundays

ON SET: Pitaes of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, filming on Whitehaven Beach in July 2015.

The fifth instalment hits cinemas on Thursday

Kim Kardashian slammed over Manchester tribute

Kim Kardashian's tribute to Manchester didn't go down well

Top Gun 2 movie is happening, Tom Cruise confirms

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Top Gun.

TOM Cruise delights fans with announcement on Sunrise.

The first Baywatch movie reviews are in

From left, Jon Bass, Alex Daddario, Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera in a scene from the movie Baywatch.

Critics were less than impressed.

A warm Whitsunday welcome to Today Show

HANDS UP: Today Show weather presenter Natalia Cooper with Airlie Beach locals at Abell Point Marina yesterday morning.

The Today Show was welcomed to the Whitsundays this morning

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!