Barry McDade and Greg Balfour from Sport and Leisure for the Handicapped were at the South Queensland Caravan, Camping, Fishing & 4WD Expo raising money for the boat. Photo: Lucy Rutherford
Barry McDade and Greg Balfour from Sport and Leisure for the Handicapped were at the South Queensland Caravan, Camping, Fishing & 4WD Expo raising money for the boat. Photo: Lucy Rutherford

‘Only dream about it’: Boat to give handicapped experience

A specially designed boat which will give handicapped adventure seekers the chance to experience the high seas has a name of special significance.

President of Sport and Leisure for the Handicapped, Greg Balfour, said the boat would be able to comfortably fit eight people in wheelchairs and their carers.

He hopes it will be finished by Christmas.

"A lot of the kids we deal with out of the special ed unit say they've only dreamt about it," Mr Balfour said.

"When they first get on, their hands are shaking but once you get that boat going and the breeze in their face, they don't want to get back off."

Mr Balfour said this will be the third boat the organisation of 26 years is building, but this one is unique in the fact that it will tribute a Sunshine Coast man.

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The 8x8m landing craft boat will be named after Caloundra man, Aaron Flynn whose remains were found three years after he went missing in central Queensland.

Mr Flynn ran out of fuel as he made the long drive from Caloundra to Charters Towers to attend a family funeral in November 2016.

He was last seen by a passing motorist, walking beside the road, carrying a petrol tin and small Esky.

Mr Flynn's scattered bones were only found in bushland near Rubyvale, south of Charters Towers in July, last year.

Mr Balfour said Mr Flynn's parents, who owned a caravan repair centre at Meridan Plains, had set up a fundraising campaign for the organisation.

"They wanted to sponsor the association, she (Aaron's mum) told me the full story so we decided we wanted to name the boat after him," he said.

"When we told her, she broke down in tears.

"She was overwhelmed."

Mr Balfour was at the South Queensland Caravan, Camping, Fishing & 4WD Expo with fellow member Barry McDade raising money for the new boat.

"It gives handicapped kids and adults the opportunity to experience something they never would have been able to otherwise," Mr Balfour said.

"These kids don't experience a lot of that sort of stuff so it's something different.

"We originally had it aimed at kids but it's snowballed over the years so we we've included aged care homes now as well."

If you want to donate to the organisation, you can head to their Facebook page.


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