Face in a cloud intrigue
AT EXACTLY the time that Gerry Wells was flying through clouds over the Northern Rivers on a journey from Brisbane to Sydney on January 9, former Northern Star editor Russell Eldridge took a photo of clouds over Ocean Shores.
The cloud formation formed an image of a man's face. Mr Eldridge sent it to The Northern Star and we were so impressed that we published it on January 11.
All this would be of little significance were it not for the fact that the day after returning from spending two weeks in Sydney, visiting many friends and family members, Gerry Wells, 62, died suddenly and completely unexpectedly from a heart attack on January 24.
One of the people he spent quality time with in Sydney was his son Dean Wells. Dean had a friend who happened to see The Northern Star online, saw Mr Eldridge's photo- graph and was struck by the similarity between the face in the cloud and the face of Dean's father, Gerry.
"This friend called out to Dean - 'Here, look at this, it looks just like your Dad'!" Gerry Wells's sister, Marion Dawson of Goonellabah, said yesterday.
"Dean sent the cloud picture to family members by email.
"When I looked at it, it gave me goosebumps. It's so like my brother, and was taken just at the time when he was making what turned out to be his last journey to visit the people he loved in Sydney. It brought tears to our eyes."
The family used Mr Eldridge's picture on the back of the leaflet handed out to people who went to his funeral. Gerry Wells was one of a family of 10, of whom sister Marion is the eldest. He is the first of the siblings to die.
"It was such a shock to us all," Marion Dawson said.
"He seemed healthy and strong but when he came back from Sydney he told his wife he was going to make an appointment to see a doctor about a pain in his chest.
"Moments later, he died.
"Thinking now of all the people he went to spend time with in Sydney, it was like he was going to say goodbye to them all.
"There's a picture of him, taken in profile, with his little granddaughter, Grace, who's just one year old.
"It's so like the face that appeared in the cloud when Gerry was flying to Sydney."