GOOD NEWS: From puppy rescues to frontline tributes to young superstars, here are the Warwick stories that made us smile.
GOOD NEWS: From puppy rescues to frontline tributes to young superstars, here are the Warwick stories that made us smile.

GOOD NEWS: Heartwarming Warwick stories of 2020

LET’S face it — 2020 was a hurdle for all Warwick residents.

Whether it was drought, bushfires or the coronavirus pandemic, the Rose City community has been hit hard over the past 12 months.

But residents took it in their stride and overcame obstacles in a way only our tight-knit town could. Some even took the darkest days and turned them into rays of light.

Here are just some of the heartwarming stories that touched our hearts this year

DROUGHT RELIEF

After years of battling one of the worst droughts on record, early January rain offered farmers much-needed relief.

Heavy rains delivered two and a half extra years of rainfall into Leslie Dam and marked the wettest February for more than 20 years.

For many, it was the chance to restock empty farms and plant on land that hadn’t seen crops in several seasons.

In Allora, it even brought the return of sunflowers — a physical embodiment of the farmer’s joy.

Further predictions of a La Nina pattern only bolstered hope.

CORONAVIRUS HEROES

At the peak of the pandemic, it took innovative minds and good Samaritans to keep the community spirit alive.

Whether it was Jason Skinner and the Warwick Boys Brigade who shone a starry tribute on our frontline, our local Care Army checking on neighbours and those in need, or Trees of Hope keeping the Jumpers and Jazz spirit alive, it’s clear Warwick wouldn’t have made it through those difficult days without kindness,

Marje and Ken Burley's 70th wedding anniversary
Marje and Ken Burley's 70th wedding anniversary

LOVE CONQUERS ALL

There were also the heartwarming stories of lovebirds who didn’t let a global pandemic get in the way of their dreams.

Ken and Marje Burley planned to have about 70 family members at their 70th weddubg anniversary, but when lockdown occurred, the family took it upon themselves to host a party convoy.

Meanwile, Renee Aspery and Benjamin Coe walked down the aisle while their loved ones watched on livestream.

Karl Stidolph had the perfect way to propose to partner Joy, with their relationship blooming into the next special stage of their life.

BORDERS OPEN

When Queensland’s borders closed, businesses were left at a loss and families heartbroken.

However, the eventual reopening with a bubble meant high school boarding stuents such as Alexandra Marchand could go home to loved ones.

When border reopenings further extended to Sydney, it meant Warwick grandparents Christine and Michael Ford would get to see their families for Christmas after two years of waiting.

EVENTS RETURN

After being cooped up in our houses for what seemed like countless weeks, the Warwick event calendar was revived.

The first big event to return following the pandemic was always going to be a joyous occasion, and it did not disappoint,

The Warwick Cup returned in October and hundreds attened in their best-dressed to enjoy, signalling a slow return to normal.

Since then, the beloved Carols in the park have also been given the go-ahead this Sunday.

Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchliffe and Ella Winfield discuss her achievement.
Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchliffe and Ella Winfield discuss her achievement.

YOUNG LEADERS PAVE THE WAY

The instalment of Warwick’s learn to ride park wasn’t only a fun new addition to Australiana Park, but the culmination of a two year petition for 10-year-old Ella Winfield.

Southern Downs Regional Council officially unearthed the $307,000 project with Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs Sterling Hinchliffe in August.

Ella was inspired by the Toowoomba track and wanted to see instrumental equipment like it in her own Rose City.

“I thought, ‘why couldn’t there be one like it in Warwick?’,” she said.

At just 12 years old, Mason Kuzma has made history as the youngest honorary member of the Warwick Lions Club.

ANIMAL ANTICS

In Warwick, it wouldn’t be a feel-good list without the creature encounters that brought a smile to our faces.

In July, Maggie the magpie escaped from owners making her own series of adventures across Warwick which included befriending Wickham Freight Lines staff.

In September, Chloe Ballinger caught CCTV footage of a koala climbing her carport pole.

Best friends Kaye and Bindi also touched hearts when their bond meant the two were able to stay together in residential aged care.

Share the Dignity volunteer Julie Unwin with the huge anonymous donation from one Merry Muster shopper.
Share the Dignity volunteer Julie Unwin with the huge anonymous donation from one Merry Muster shopper.

SHARING THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

Just this weekend, The Merry Muster proved there’s more goodwill in shopping than you might think.

The busloads of city shoppers travelled across the Southern Downs to support local business and creators.

There gave generously to our charities in need, including Share the Dignity.

Organiser Julie Unwin said her husband’s truck was only just big enough to transport the huge supply of necessary and sanitary products.

“I’m just so thankful, and thank you just doesn’t seem enough for all these wonderful donations to our community,” she said.

The Warwick Community Van and Granite Belt Water Relief each received a $3100 donations as well.

HEROES RECOGNISED

This year was also a chance to pay tribute to our many heroes across the region.

For 40 years’, James Massey’s family watched him walk out the door, not knowing the magnitude of the fire he would soon help battle.

In June, the Sugarloaf rural fire brigade’s first officer was awarded an Order of Australia title.

Frasers Livestock Transport truck driver Jeff Clegg was congratulated in June as well, for his heroic efforts saving a man trapped in a car crash.

In October, our own hero in orange, John Newley was awarded for 40 years of community with the SES.

AID SAVES WARWICK GIRL FROM DEADLY INFECTION

A heartwarming grant by Variety Queensland meant the world for one Wildash family this year.

Holly Aspinall, 16, suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and a multitude of bacteria in her rural tank meant she was looking down the barrel of permanent lung damage.

Variety donated a $13,000 specialised water filter and changed Holly’s luck.

“Variety do a great support for people like us that fall between the cracks,” dad Darren said.

“CF is not a common disease, and we get zero government so Variety really fills the void.”



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