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.

Airlie Beach Race Week turns on 'Champagne racing'

Reignition, skippered by Charles Wallis, in action on day four of Airlie Beach Race Week.

Airlie Beach Race Week turns on'Champagne racing'.

Big screen now bigger, better. But you'll have to wait to see it

Ron Harris of the Airlie Beach Planetarium.

Big screen now bigger, better. But you'll have to waitto see it.

Tahlia takes on New York in showstopper

WHAT A SHOW: Tahlia Tabone puts on a show in New York.

Tahlia takes on New York in showstopper.

Local Partners

Favourite dishes back on new menu at Hog's

He said the steakhouse had suffered water damage to floorboards and internal furnishings which had now been fixed, redecorated and rejuvenated.

Tribute to a timeless band on Mackay stage

The Ultimate Eagles Experience tribute show is coming to Mackay.

The ultimate eagles experience

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

This laughter yoga video will have you in fits of giggles

BEST MEDICINE: Karen Flannery is spreading happiness through laughter throughout Hervey Bay.

New members needed for a laughing good time

OPINION: Bachelor really crossed the line

Leah’s abrupt Bachelor exit is slut-shaming at its worst.

Marvel stars tease superhero epic

The four year wait for Marvel's The Defenders is over.

The Defenders stars on their long-awaited superhero team-up.

The two stars who intimidated Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth was intimidated by two other Hollywood stars.

Thor star says he was ‘weirdly shaken’ when he met two other actors.

Sam Newman: How a Playboy magazine changed everything

The new crew of The Footy Show.Source:Supplied

How a Playboy magazine changed everything.

Leah slams Matty: ‘I was incredibly disappointed’

Leah says she was ‘incredible disappointed’ with Matty J.

BACHELOR evictee's controversial chat with Kyle and Jackie O.

John Eales finds peace with the haka

Inia Maxwell and John Eales in a scene from the documentary John Eales Reveals: The Haka.

Rugby legend is on a quest to learn about a sacred Maori tradition/

The Bachelor recap: Secret pasts publicly exposed

Matty J is left speechless on The Bachelor.

TWO Bachelor contestants’ secret adult pasts have been exposed.

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

How we got a rental straight away on the Coast

Rita and David Allara, moved down from Townsville, paid three months up front rent to secure the place at flash new unit block in Kings Beach.

Genius move helps secure rental property

Developer tears up couple's contract for new home

Jade and Edward Roberts were stung by the sunset clause on the first day of their honeymoon.

The developer has the right to do this under the sunset clause

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!