Twit­ter wed­ding cou­ple ‘pay it back’

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A BRIS­BANE cou­ple who mar­ried in the Whit­sun­days three years ago in ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances, have re­turned to the re­gion to “pay it back”.

In May 2011, Re­nae Jones and Matt Lyne booked a Whit­sun­day wed­ding, se­lect­ing the des­ti­na­tion par­tially to support the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try, which was suf­fer­ing after Cy­clone Yasi.

The cou­ple, who are own­ers and coaches of the Bris­bane Run Squad (BRS), had one week to go be­fore run­ning the Great Wall of China Marathon, fol­lowed by a four-day Whit­sun­day bare­boat yacht char­ter and their Hamil­ton Is­land wed­ding, when all of their plans fell through. Ms Jones re­ceived a call ad­vis­ing her that the book­ing company had gone into vol­un­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Com­pletely dev­as­tated, she spoke to a “so­cial me­dia ac­tivist” friend, who put out one tweet that changed the course of events.

The tweet was picked up by Whit­sun­day res­i­dent James Dav­i­son, whose business Whit­sun­days On­line was mon­i­tor­ing lo­cal in­for­ma­tion and news.

Mr Dav­i­son and fel­low lo­cal Phil Batty put the call out to Whit­sun­day busi­nesses, who were only too will­ing to as­sist.

Ms Jones said Air­lie Beach busi­nesses were “lit­er­ally scram­bling to help us, of­fer­ing free cel­e­brants, ac­com­mo­da­tion, din­ing, tourism ad­ven­tures and the list went on and on and on”.

“Be­cause of the pas­sion of Whit­sun­days On­line and the amaz­ing gen­eros­ity and spirit of the Air­lie Beach com­mu­nity, we had the most beau­ti­ful, ro­man­tic, and ut­terly per­fect wed­ding ex­pe­ri­ence ever,” she said.

Since that time, the cou­ple, who now have two-year-old ‘Arn’ and another baby on the way, have silently vowed to one day re­turn to the re­gion and “pay it back”.

Last month this is just what they did, bring­ing 32 of the BRS run­ners, sup­port­ers and their fam­i­lies to Air­lie Beach, on an ex­pe­di­tion to run the Great Whit­sun­day Walk.

The group hired trans­port, took tours, ate at lo­cal restau­rants and booked out ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Mr Dav­i­son said this was an un­ex­pected and ter­rific twist to the tale and he praised the lo­cal tourism op­er­a­tors who were in­volved all those years ago “even though at the time it was re­ally, re­ally tough”.

Like­wise, Mr Batty, who is now in London, was thrilled with the up­date.

“It was my plea­sure then and still gives me a warm glow to this day,” he said.

PAY­ING IT BACK: Bris­bane Run Squad own­ers and coaches Re­nae and Matt brought 32 of their mem­bers, sup­port­ers and fam­i­lies back to Air­lie Beach. Pic­tured are: Michael Keet­man, Wendy Cham­bers, Michelle Wood, El­iz­a­beth Thomp­son, Sean Brown, Matt Waller, Irene Morellini, Matt Lyne, Jody Hossack, An­drew Mar­ring­ton, Matt Cooper, Ben Yee, Nick Mans­field (back), Melissa Cooper (cen­tre) and Lisa Philippi, Janet John­son and Will Towner (front).

HAPPY END­ING: Re­nae Jones and Matt Lyne were mar­ried at Lovers Cove on Day­dream Is­land in 2011, thanks to the gen­eros­ity of nu­mer­ous Whit­sun­day busi­nesses, who came to their aid. Photo by Ziggy Ziegler.

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