Son flies home to help mum

US-based coach re­turns home to sup­port clean-up

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Dane Lilling­stone dane.lilling­stone@whit­sun­day­

JAMIE Kirk­man was half­way across the world in the USA when he found out his mum was about to be in the mid­dle of a cat­e­gory four cy­clone in the Whit­sun­days.

“I saw it on Face­book ini­tially and it was pretty daunt­ing be­ing on the other side of the world (and) not know­ing what’s hap­pen­ing,” he said.

“As soon as mum said she’d like me to come back it was a no brainer. As soon as I knew Proser­pine air­port was opened, I booked a flight.”

Jamie, a pro­fes­sional ten­nis coach, said he al­ready saw the de­struc­tion that awaited him be­fore he even got off the plane.

“When I was land­ing yes­ter­day I was see­ing all the trees on their side. See­ing it from the air... t’s a pretty dev­as­tat­ing scene,” he said.

“We drove out to Shute Har­bour and it’s just in­sane.

“We went through Cy­clone Ului and see­ing the boats back then was one thing but this is com­pletely dif­fer­ent.”

Jamie has been coach­ing elite ju­nior ten­nis play­ers in Or­lando for the last three and a-half-years and it’s a pas­sion for ten­nis he’s al­ways shared with his mother.

Both Jamie and Jenny, who now runs Ten­nis Whit­sun­day, said they first picked up a rac­quet around the age of eight and hadn’t looked back since.

They even qual­i­fied at the same time to be ten­nis coaches.

“I’m a di­rec­tor of a small acad­emy. We have an eight-year-old prob­a­bly in the top 20 in the world right now,” Jamie said.

Jamie said he would spend the next few days help­ing his mum Jenny com­plete the tidy up be­fore re­turn­ing to Amer­ica.

Jenny said she was lucky she hadn’t suf­fered more dam­age dur­ing the cy­clone. “This was hor­rific.

“I think the time in­volved, we were pre­par­ing from the Mon­day af­ter­noon, then it went onto Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

“I just have a small hole in my roof and no fenc­ing but oth­er­wise it’s okay,” she said.

As for Ten­nis Whit­sun­day, Jenny said the Can­non­vale courts had help up sur­pris­ingly well with just an abun­dance of branches and leaves to clean up.

“So­cial ten­nis will be back on Satur­day and coach­ing is avail­able now. I plan on be­ing back in the full swing when school starts back on April 18,” she said.

Jenny is also plan­ning a fun ten­nis morn­ing next Wed­nes­day from 8-10am for kids.

You can reg­is­ter by con­tact­ing 0418 866 808.


BACK HOME: Jenny and her son Jamie Kennedy, who re­turned from the United States to help clean up the Can­non­vale ten­nis courts af­ter Cy­clone Deb­bie.

INSET: The de­struc­tion is still ev­ery­where in the park next to the Can­non­vale ten­nis courts.

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