Toyah memorial unveiling shows community will never give up


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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Wayne 'Prong' Trimble and Cameron Donnachie with the Toyah Cordingley memorial at Wangetti Beach. Image: Victoria Stone-Meadows.

Hundreds of people descended on Wangetti Beach this weekend for the unveiling of the memorial for Toyah Cordingley.

A sea of yellow was present of the shores of the beach as people from far and wide came to pay their respects and remember the young woman who was taken too soon.

Estimates of the attendees put the crowd size at around 300 to 400 people at the beach on Saturday afternoon.

The concrete monument that was unveiled depicts her beloved pets ‘Sally’ and ‘Indie’ and a plaque that reads “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Today marks the 12-month anniversary of Ms Cordingley’s murder and the service dedicated to her on the weekend reminded everyone that her memory has not faded.

Close family friend and dedication event organiser, Wayne ‘Prong’ Trimble, made a moving speech including a statement from Ms Cordingley’s mother that was read to the gathered crowd.

Mr Trimble thanked all those who attended and the wider community for their ongoing support in helping to keep Ms Cordingley’s spirit alive. 

The statement from Ms Cordingley’s mother, Vanessa Gardiner, told not only of the horror but also the community spirit of the last 12 months.

“The last year has been like living in hell,” her statement reads.

“Without the continuous love and support within our community and also the rest of the world, it would be extremely hard.”

She also explained the reasoning behind why that specific quote was chosen for her daughter’s memorial.

“People say ‘be the change you want to see;’ Toyah already saw that so she chose to be the change she wanted to be; so caring and loving to all mankind and creatures, no matter what.

“A truly beautiful spirit she was.”

The monument was then unveiled to the sounds of the Smithfield State High School Jazz Academy singers delivering a stirring rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’.

Mr Trimble said the monument will stand as a reminder of the loving character of Ms Cordingley and the love the community has for her and her family.

“It was something I think the community need and the community have come out in force and it’s satisfying for everyone to know there is a monument for Toyah,” he said.

“People can come and stand beside it and maybe spend some time here, bring a trinket or a flower and put it on there.

“It was a very emotional day, very hard to stand up there to speak watching everyone.” 

The artist who designed the memorial, Cameron Donnachie, said he is proud to have been part of the lasting memorial for Ms Cordingley.

“It’s something I did special for someone like Toyah, I would do anything for someone like that,” he said.

“It’s not a promotion, it was a pleasure to do this for everybody; it’s not for myself, it was for her friends and family and for everyone to see forever.”

Ms Cordingley’s father, Troy Cordingley, also posted a tribute to his daughter on social media today.

“One year today, seems like a couple of months, if that. Today I will spend my time remembering all the wonderful times Toyah and I spent together,” his post reads.

“I know all parents say their child is perfect, but in Toyah's case it is so true, I can not be more proud of the beautiful person in heart and soul that she has become.

“I miss her terribly but try to stay focused on the fantastic twenty-four years I was so lucky to have.

“I want to thank everybody for the beautiful words, pictures, thoughts and deeds shared over the past year.

“I also would ask again for all not to forget our beautiful girl, keep her memory alive as she is alive in all of us. Justice will come, it may take time, but it will not bring her back.”

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