IRWIN Racing’s Alex Davison had a busy day in Townsville today, visiting the cyclone ravaged Cardwell State School prior to opening practice for the Sucrogen 400.
Davison arrived at the school by helicopter to sign autographs before the children were chauffeured to the Reid Park circuit by bus for a day in the Orrcon Steel Racing corporate suite.
The Mayor of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Cr Bill Shannon, said that today’s visit to see the V8 Supercars was an “uplifting” experience for the small coastal North Queensland town that was heavily damaged by Cyclone Yasi in February.
“There are about 35 adults and 65 kids, all having a wonderful day, you can see that by the looks on their faces,” said Shannon.
“Everyone is saying how good it is to get away from the devastation that they are surrounded by.
“It’s been very hard, I’d say up until two or three weeks ago we were still doing it hard but there’s been a change helped by some fine weather and the fact that there are a lot of tradies working very hard.
“The vegetation and ambiance of the place still has a long way to go before it is back to normal, so it’s been uplifting to be away from that for a short while.”
For IRWIN Tools, the day was about the kids and helping rebuild the town.
“We saw a boat 200 metres in from the beach, in the middle of bush land, and the damage to the town; only then do you realise what the winds must have been like,” said IRWIN Tools Asia-Pacific Vice-President Nick Pritchard.
“When you see the battering that Cardwell got, it’s amazing that these guys are so far down the road to recovery.
“For IRWIN Tools it’s nice to do something, communities like this really need that support from a lot of different places.
“Today we decided to do something for the kids, it’s really important; they have been really affected by this.
“To see so many smiling faces with a BBQ sausage in hand, enjoying a soft drink, is really nice to see.”
Apart from giving the town kids a day off, IRWIN Tools also presented the town with a gift of $2000 worth of tools.
“It’s a small contribution, the guys will use them the best way they see fit,” said Pritchard.
“For the tradesmen helping re-build Cardwell, we hope it’s helpful.
“We said from the beginning that we wanted to help for the long term, this recovery will continue for a long time, if we all pitch in then that window of recovery is as short as possible.”
Looking after the army of Cardwell and Kennedy Primary School kids is Cardwell school administrator Denise Walton.
“After the cyclone it took time for the recovery to start but it’s starting to progress rapidly now,” said Denise Walton.
“We see lots of builders, we see lots being done.
“Everything was wrecked or destroyed; we had to start all over. Once the school is fully repaired it will be a great place.
“Q-Build has been fantastic getting all the workmen in and they worked so fast to get things cleaned up.
“We’re getting there, but a day like this were the kids and their parents have had the opportunity to get away from it all has been wonderful.
“I think the kids are having a ball, but I think the parents are having even more fun.
“They don’t see this sort of thing very often, so it’s great for them to be able to experience it.
“I can’t thank IRWIN Tools enough. Thank you so much.”