Former Thorney girl is West Australia surf champion
Proud grandparents Brian and Carol Payne are celebrating having an Aussie surfing champion in the family.
Their granddaughter Maddie Cawood has just won the Western Australian Under-16 Surfing Championship.
Maddie, aged 15, won the title at Geraldton, Western Austrian, battling huge waves from the Indian Ocean.
She is already All-Australia Schools Champion.
Maddie is the daughter of Michaela (nee Payne) and Peter Cawood. Michaela was born in Thorney and the couple lived here for a short while. Maddie actually went to the Duke of Bedford School for a year, and was five when the family emigrated.
“Michaela and Peter spent a year backpacking in Australia and they liked the country so much they decided they wanted to live there,” said Brian.
They now live at Margaret River, about three hours drive from Perth, a stretch of coastline where there are magnificent beaches and huge waves.
“She took up surfing around seven years ago,” says grandfather Brian. “She had been a really promising gymnast, but it got a little intensive and stopped being fun.
“In surfing events, all the competitors have to swim out from the beach and part of the skill is picking the right wave. You then get marked for difficulty, duration and distance. It’s quite complicated.”
Brian and Carol live in St Mary’s Close and have been in the village for 48 years. Brian served in the village fire crew for many years and was in the crew that attended the crash of the US Air Force Starlifter transport plane on Thorney Dyke in 1976. Carol will be known to many people in the village, working as receptionist in the doctors’ surgery at both Park House and the Thorney Medical Centre.
The couple make regular trips to Australia to keep in touch and they’re trying out the new non-stop service from London to Perth – a 17-hour flight – later this year.