Thursday, November 2, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The Hunter Valley couple whose wedding day turned to tragedy when 10 of their wedding guests were killed in a devastating bus crash have just returned from a quiet, belated honeymoon in the Whitsundays, thanks to a kind community member and several local businesses.
Maddy and Mitchell Gaffney spent the last six months grieving the loss of their loved ones, attending funerals and processing everything that happened on that fateful day. Wishing to help ease the pain, a local lady took it upon herself to arrange a spectacular honeymoon in the Whitsundays, and many kind businesses stepped forward to offer their services for free.
When local lady, Maz McDougall, heard about the bus tragedy which killed 10 wedding guests in June this year, her heart broke for the couple.
By chance, she was connected with another lady called Tina Kerr who used to live in the Whitsundays and now resided in the couple’s hometown.
The two of them began talking and it was soon decided that a honeymoon in the Whitsundays later in the year would offer the couple a small reprieve from their grief and a way to start healing from the tragedy.
Maz, who is well-known in the area for her charity work and selfless acts of kindness, took it upon herself to approach local businesses and ask them if they would like to be involved.
“The response was just incredible!” she said.
“Not a dollar got passed over this, not one cent – and I just want to thank everyone in the community.
“We sure are part of a wonderful community!”
Maddy and Mitchell were picked up from the airport in style thanks to Whitsunday Hot Rods and were then taken to Palm Bay Resort on Long Island where they spent two days relaxing.
Afterwards, they headed back to the mainland thanks to Whitsunday Island Transfers for a further two nights at Coral Sea Resort.
During their stay they also enjoyed a daytrip on Camira thanks to Cruise Whitsundays.
One evening, Maddy received a pampering experience by Lauriely Taylor Make-up and Mandy Hall from Airlie Hair Retreat before heading out for a meal at Fish D’vine where they enjoyed a Seafood Tower and “the best Mojito in my entire life!”
A special thanks also goes to Dave from Depicting Dreamscapes for his fantastic photos, Balloon Emporium for the decorations and Tiny and Mark from Mackay Cabs for the free transfers.
“Every single person, whether they knew our story or not, were so lovely,” said Maddy.
“Maz is the most amazing human being, she is so kind and generous, and we can’t thank her enough.”
Maddy said that the last few months have been the hardest time of their lives and that the belated honeymoon was a chance to re-set.
“It was just what we needed – a bit of a re-set – so we could spend some time together,” she said.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who gifted us accommodation, food, transport, tours and experiences – it’s been a trip that we will never forget.”
Maddy and Mitchell say their belated honeymoon was a chance to re-set and reconnect. Photo credit: Depicting Dreamscapes