CLOSE TO HOME: Gem and Nick Green originally came from the near-Manchester region.
CLOSE TO HOME: Gem and Nick Green originally came from the near-Manchester region. Arthur Gorrie

Heartbreaking terror toll felt in Gympie

HEARTBREAKING, but life must go on.

That was the essence of Gympie's response from British and Australian-born residents yesterday.

"It's absolutely heartbreaking,” Nick Green of Gympie's PC Place said yesterday.

The former resident of Wolverhampton, near Manchester, said the really sad part was the demographic involved, "younger kids and teenagers out for the night or being taken there by their parents”.

"You could imagine parents taking a group of kids and saying 'Have a good night' and then this happens,” he said.

"Lucky, I suppose, that I didn't know anyone there, as far as we know.

"We haven't heard any bad news from family or friends yet anyway,” he said.

"We were actually listening to the Wolverhampton radio - that's where we're from - and there was this lady who'd actually heard the explosion from the train station, which is very close and then saw all these kids bleeding and hurt.

"Manchester is our nearest international airport and we would go to big events either there or in Birmingham because they have two big stadiums.”

Their fellow Briton, teacher Michael Bonney, said the terrorists would not achieve their objectives.

"I'm from London but I have family around the Manchester area,” he said.

"I'm very patriotic. It's shocking and it's really saddening.

"Really young people who haven't done any harm to anyone are the victims, just going for a night out with their friends and a good time.

"Even those who haven't been injured will carry this with them.

"They'll be haunted by it for a very long time.”

But, he says, British people will keep on keeping on, even in the face of tragedy and horror.

"I was in London for the London Tube bombing and it didn't break people's spirits.

"It will bring Manchester and England and Britain together.

"Terrorists aren't going to defeat the British. They will make us come together as one.

"They'll try to cause chaos and division but they will fail,” he said.

"When they bombed the London Tube, people made an effort to carry on with their normal lives.

"We walked to work. We didn't catch the train, but we carried on with life as normal other than that.

"That'll be the reaction of British people to this.”

People involved in sport and music around Gympie also predicted that the show would, and must, go on.

Rugby league fan Ron Thorburn said he was positive there would be no disruption to the coming State of Origin match.

"I hope not,” he said. "The terrorists win if we're scared.”

Gympie Muster program manager Jeff Chandler felt the same.

"I don't think Australians are easy to intimidate,” he said.

"Everyone's pretty concerned and we're aware of security, but we're not going to let something like that stop us going to events, like the State of Origin or the Muster.

"It's incredibly sad but not a sign of a real threat to most people's safety,” he said.

Police were cautiously confident yesterday that regional areas were not in significant danger.

"Australia at a national level has maintained its terrorism alert level at probable,” a police spokesman said.

"Queenslanders are urged to be vigilant but to go about their daily lives as usual.”

He said one important security precaution is to not reveal details.