Sunshine and smiles as families moor at Manly

Manly turned on the sunshine and charm when more than 360 family and friends visited the North Head Quarantine Station for a big Sydney-style day out.

There were Surf Life Savers and cold ice creams waiting to greet guests when they arrived at the wharf following a ferry trip from Darling Harbour packed with famous landmarks and a multitude of photo opportunities.

The families and friends were welcomed by James Griffin, MP for Manly and Aboriginal elder Caroline Glass-Patterson.

Mr Griffin, whose parents both served, said it was a “thank you” party the community was keen to hold.

The relaxed gathering gave the visitors time to mingle with each other but also chat to locals including Soldier On volunteers, representatives from the local RSL sub-branch, Rotarians and business and community representatives.

Georgia Robinson flew from the USA that morning and said it had been a beautiful day.

“Sydney can be proud of its hospitality,” she said.

Georgia was with her daughter Lena Crook and grandson, six-month-old Alexander Crook. They’ll  be cheering Alexander’s father David Crook.

Children, grandparents, partners and friends had an opportunity to spend time with new friends, swim, play beach volleyball and learn about Sydney’s history.

Sally-Anne Bull was enjoying the beach with her sons, Charlie, 16, AJ, 13, and Tom, 12, and their grandmother Sandra Bull.

Their spirits were high despite getting off the plane from the UK that morning.

“We haven’t even checked in to the hotel yet,” said Sally-Anne.

For Laura Child’s and her sister in-law Christie Griffin, it was a special day to mingle with other families undergoing the same journey with their loved ones.

They couldn’t believe they were given the opportunity to come and support Laura’s fiancé Lee Harvey.

“It’s a trip of a life time for us. To get to do this together is amazing. We are very humble and grateful to be here,” said Laura.

Team UK competitor Michael Mellon is here with his parents Susan and Steven, wife Deborah and three children Ryan,13, Eve, 11 and Sarah, 7.

His daughter Eve will celebrate her 12th birthday on Sunday.

Susan said they were very proud Michael was at the Games, particular as he was the only Scotsman in the team.

They learnt on their son’s 38th birthday in May that they would all be able to come under the Friends & Family program.

“It’s bought us together as a family,” said Susan.

“We are here to support everyone.  It’s a fantastic atmosphere and it makes all the men and women well mentally and physically.

“It’s a great thing.”

Bev Jordan
Invictus Games Sydney 2018