On 7th September 2006 we lost one of our founding members, Lorna Ryan. Lorna was only 42 when she lost her battle with breast cancer. She was passionate about Dragons Abreast Mackay though she was only able to paddle in the new boat a couple of times before she became too ill to do so. As Mackay is a fairly small town, Lorna spent many months in Townsville and Brisbane for treatment, always with her very supportive husband Mick by her side. Even though she was far away she was always in our thoughts.
Her spirit lives on. Her husband Mick now paddles regularly with the team and has learnt to sweep the boat. Lorna was adamant that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Dragons Abreast Mackay at her funeral. The result of this has been overwhelming. It has enabled us to purchase a new dragon boat not the second hand one originally planned. This new boat will be Lorna’s favourite colour purple and named in her honour.
A very moving and beautiful Flowers on the Water Ceremony attended by many of her family and friends was held to commemorate Lorna’s “Dragon Farewell” and “Induction into Angels Abreast”. Namdag, our lovely Buddhist nun blessed the flower petals and prayed for Lorna, her family and friends
While this was an intensely emotional day it highlighted the DAA philosophy. Even though Dragons Abreast Mackay has been a close knit group from the very beginning Lorna’s passing has strengthened those bonds even more.