Twitter wedding couple ‘pay it back’
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.