Fishing trip eases year of loss

A HEART-BREAKING year ended in joy for Shannon Vanderpoel and Rachel McCutcheon when their names were plucked from more than 1000 entries to win The Northern Star’s Fishing Trip of a Lifetime competition.

With just one day remaining on the 2009 calendar, the keen East Ballina anglers were prepared to write the year off, but can now savour something from an otherwise disastrous 12 months.

The couple was due to welcome twins around Christmas, but in a sad end the girls were born at just 23 weeks, leaving doctors powerless to save them.

“There was nothing the doctors could do,” Ms McCutcheon said.

The couple said the fishing trip would go a little way in helping them get over what was such a heart-breaking time for the both of them.

“It has been a crappy year and now we get to do something that we really love together, so I’m over the moon.”

Mr Vanderpoel and Ms McCutcheon have won a four-night extreme fishing adventure in Darwin for themselves and two friends valued at $8000.

And don’t they love to fish.

“We are definitely keen fisherman,” Mr Vanderpoel said.

“I have just bought a boat and we like to get out at least a couple of times a month.”

And if you thought Mr Vanderpoel was the type to have his better-half just tag along, think again.

“I was the one who made him buy the boat,” Ms McCutcheon said.

“I absolutely love to fish, so winning this prize has made my day.”

With two more spots to fill, the couple has to make a tough decision on who will join them for four nights at sea.

The first of the vacant spots was a no-brainer.

“It’s my brother’s 40th birthday coming up, so he gets one spot,” Mr Vanderpoel said.

“He took us on a fishing trip for Rachel’s birthday so it will be good to pay him back.”

In a coincidental twist, that particular fishing trip produced the mackerel for the photo which was attached to the winning entry.

Mr Vanderpoel agreed it was only fair that his brother would join them on their adventure.

As for the fourth seat, it’s anyone’s guess.

“We might have to put all the mates’ names in a barrel and draw one out.”

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