A service will be held in Seoul on Friday 28 January for James Perry who was the Senior Stipendiary Steward & Special Consultant on Racing Issues at the Korea Racing Authority. His is listed a among those lost and presumed dead in the floods in Australia.
The service in Seoul will coincide with one being held in Australia to celebrate his life. The 30 minute service in Seoul will be held in the chapel, next to Robb Hall starting at 2pm. As the chapel has a limited capacity, they would appreciate if you could acknowledge if you plan on attending by emailing Mrs. Koh at email@example.com
Following is part of a news story about his family’s ordeal:
Glimpsed briefly in film shot from a helicopter, James Perry and his wife and son became one of the abiding images of the disaster that eventually claimed more than 30 lives. They were seen by millions around the world, clinging to the roof of their family car as it was swept along by devastating flash floods that struck small towns along a river valley in Queensland.
His wife, Jenny Thorncraft, and son Teddy, nine, were soon reported to have been rescued, but tragically Mr Perry was not seen again - and his body is among the 10 for which authorities are still searching, 13 days later, as the waters slowly recede.
Now The Sunday Telegraph has pieced together details of their harrowing ordeal and extraordinary rescue for the first time, and can reveal that neither mother nor son were, as reported at the time, winched by helicopter from the car roof. Instead they were hauled from the fast-flowing waters more than a mile apart, by rescuers who in the case of the mother swam through debris to reach them - and consider them both lucky to be alive.
The family had recently returned to Australia from South Korea, where Mr Perry, 39, was chief racing steward at a course near Seoul. As they drove back towards their home in the small inland town of Toowoomba from a prized weekend on the nearby Gold Coast - Mr Perry had been determined to spend more time with his family - the river was rising, swollen by prolonged heavy rainfall. At around 2.30pm, they were driving along a busy road near the town of Helidon, not far from home, when their white four-wheel drive was swept away by a wave of water, likened to an "inland tsunami", that poured over the road for the first time since 1893.
At first the family stayed inside as the car was swept along, just another piece of flotsam caught in the churning torrent. Then, somehow, they climbed on to the roof, where they were spotted by distant onlookers - and by a television helicopter. Gary Topp, 55, a retiree who lives in Helidon, saw the car at about 2.30pm and kept watch as the family "bobbed along". "They were sitting there holding on, just wondering what to do," he said. "They went extremely slowly. They were just bobbing up and down. It seemed like an eternity but it was only about 15 or 20 minutes. The water was boiling, rolling over on itself. It was horrific."
The Channel Seven television news helicopter.... tried to swoop down to help but then pulled back, fearful that the down draught they created might blow Teddy off the roof. "The helicopter came down a couple of times," recalled Mr Topp. "My thought was that it was just giving them false hope." Soon it flew off to pick up professional rescuers. But as it did so, the family faced a new hazard: overhead powerlines that appeared to be dangling dangerously low. Unknown to them, the electricity had already been cut throughout the region by the floods but - fearing electrocution - the three shuffled around on the roof, trying to keep themselves clear. At some point they lost their grip and slipped into the water, out of sight.
When the television helicopter returned with two professional Queensland state rescuers, the car had also vanished, probably filled with water. But after scouring the area, they spotted Ms Thorncraft about half a mile downstream, desperately clinging to a tree.There was a small island nearby, where the helicopter landed and dropped off Andrew Neil and Brad Mills. "From the island, we were able to come up with ideas," said Mr Neil, 44, a champion lifesaver. "There was massive amounts of debris. Everything you can think of was running in the water. "But if Jenny let go of the tree, we could get to her. We could swim across stream to the trees. By the tree was a back eddy, which we used to get close and contact her."
Mr Mills, 41, whose father had died in the great Queensland floods of 1974, joined Mr Neil as they swam across to Jenny. "We swam on the downstream and used the back eddy to help get to her. We could see it in the water. That is what we train for," he said. As the flood began to recede, the three waded to an island and waited for the helicopter. Ms Thorncraft was frantically asking about the whereabouts of her husband and son. "She was very distraught that she had lost them," said Mr Neil. "I tried to reassure her that it was possible they were downstream and we were doing everything we can... She said they didn't know if there was electricity in the power lines. They decided to reshuffle in the car. Then she lost contact. That was the last she saw of them." The helicopter dropped her in a safe place and continued to search for more people in the waters - in what was to become a 58 hour shift for the two rescuers.
Meanwhile, a firefighting helicopter that had flown to assist from neighbouring New South Wales spotted Teddy on top of a cattle feeder drifting through the water more than a mile from the road,
Kendall Thompson, an electrician who works as a volunteer fireman, was winched down. Mr Thompson, from Tamworth in northern New South Wales, says he is just "a casual swimmer" and had never performed water rescues. "The boy was totally surrounded by water and was sitting on top of the feeder. It was the middle of nowhere. The helicopter crew were worried he was too light and might be blown off if we hovered too close," he said. He was carefully lowered down to Teddy and strapped him into a harness. The boy, his leg and foot deeply cut, was covered in blood and dirt. He was in shock and said little. "He said he was in a car with his mum and dad and got washed away. He was fairly well cut up. We bandaged his leg, then got him to the police and went looking for the vehicle and his father."
Mr Perry's car was eventually found days later, a further two miles downstream. His father, Kingsley Perry, said that the family did not want to talk publicly about their ordeal. The tight-knit racing community in Australia remains in mourning for Mr Perry and has launched a charity fund to assist the family.
"John is one of nature's gentleman," said Wade Birch, the chief steward at Queensland Racing. "He was a loyal friend and devoted to his family."
K4E Note: A fund has been set up for the Perry Family in Australia. For more details see: http://korearacing.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/james-perry-family-flood-relief-fund/
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