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People of Cessnock is a blog by local resident, Rebecca Murray. The project seeks to value the people of her home town by sharing their stories value and raising the profile of people living outside metropolitan areas.



“I was a member of the SES. I was part of a rescue team doing cliff rescue and cave rescue and I’ve been involved in two live cliff rescues. One down in Sydney where we just happened to be abseiling on the day and a young bloke took a tumble off a ten-meter waterfall and fell into a pool of water. We managed to haul him out of there which was really good.

And then the second one we were involved with –

You know, God just puts the right people in the right places at the right time.

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I just happened to be up in the Watagans abseiling and I was talking to this lady at the top of a cliff. And I was actually telling her about the other rescue we’d done and I jumped on a rope and abseiled down. And by the time we got to the bottom somebody came flying around the corner to say a lady had fallen off a cliff … and it was the lady I was talking to.

She took a tumble and fell twenty meters and she had a broken pelvis, broken back, punctured lung, cracked skull, and some other external injuries.

So, we sat with her until the rescue helicopter came and, because of my vertical rescue background, when the doctors came we had the ropes ready. I stayed above them so that when all their gear came down I secured it for them and when they needed something I could just open their bags and pass them what they needed. And so, a rescue that would have normally taken seven hours, they said, took them two and a half.

As I said, God puts the right people in the right places at the right time.”

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“I love abseiling. What I love most about it is taking kids and standing them close to an edge and - 

A lot of kids all their life have been told, “Don’t go too close to the edge. Don’t step over the handrail. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.” And I give them permission to do so in a very, very safe and controlled manner. And I love seeing what the kids get out of it in growing in confidence and doing something they never thought they’d be able to do.

I’ve taken kids off 75-meter cliffs and the smile on their face when they hit the bottom and they look up and you’re looking down … they give you a big thumbs up and when they get back to the top they say, “Can I go again?”

And I just get a buzz out of that. I love doing it.

You know, I was lucky enough that somebody took the time to teach me how to do it and I always feel that we need to reciprocate. I take the time to let other people have the same experience. And that goes with a whole lot of other different things.

My wife and I have fostered upwards of twenty-five kids – often just in respite care – but if I hadn’t had the opportunities I had when I was young then I would have been a different person as well.

You should always give back the opportunities you’ve been given.”

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“I met my wife when we were 8.

We went through Sunday school together. And we went into the youth group together. And then we became Sunday school teachers together. And then we ran the youth group together. And we were the first people to be married in our church … together.

“I am the luckiest man in the world. I am marrying the most beautiful woman in the world.” - On our wedding day, when I turned around and she started walking down the aisle, that’s exactly what I thought.

And I still think she’s the most beautiful woman in the world.

And, look, I mean, she has probably been the most significant thing in my life. She’s my rock.

And she saved my life.

I’ve had struggles. And she’s always been there … and she’s saved me.

And if I come across people going through a similar struggle, I always encourage them to seek out a true friend and talk things through. I think it’s really, really important that you don’t bottle things up.

And my wife will go, “Oh, that’s great coming from you. You’re the best person at it!”, and it’s probably from my own experience that I can sit back and say that.

You know, don’t keep it in. Let people know how you feel and let people know how you are and the right people will always come into your life at the right time to see you through whatever the struggle you are going through.

And you know, I honestly believe that God always puts a person in your life when you need someone.

Seek out that person. Find a true friend.”