An image posted to Facebook by Suzy Garada showing her with her partner Mathew Lee, who is in hospital after being bitten by a shark at Ballina.
An image posted to Facebook by Suzy Garada showing her with her partner Mathew Lee, who is in hospital after being bitten by a shark at Ballina.

VIDEO: Friends rally together, sign board for Mathew Lee

UPDATE 4.05pm: AROUND 100 friends and supporters have gathered at North Wall, Ballina, in a show of support for Thursday's shark attack victim, Mathew Lee.

It was an opportunity to put forward donations to help Mr Lee's family, and to sign a body board, donated by Jarrod Gibson, to be presented to Mr Lee.

Mr Lee, 32, was body boarding at Lighthouse Beach near North Wall when he was attacked by a Great White Shark on Thursday morning.

He remains in a serious condition at the Gold Coast University Hospital.

A friend of Mr Lee, James McQuaker, said the donated body board, signed by so many friends and supporters, was a "kind gesture" from the body boarding community.

"The signing of the body board is in respect to Mat, being an icon and such a well-liked guy that he is," Mr McQuaker said.

"It's like a get-well card for him."

"We'd like to see him wake up in a few days' time and have this big board there waiting for him."

"I can't wait to see his reaction when he wakes up - Mat's got a pretty big smile."


INITIAL REPORT: FRIENDS and loved ones of Ballina shark attack victim Mathew Lee closed ranks yesterday with staff at the Gold Coast University Hospital refusing to comment on the condition of the 32-year-old.

Members of the Northern Rivers bodyboarding community will gather today at North Wall as a show of support for Mr Lee.

People at the gathering will sign a hand-crafted bodyboard, which will be given to Mr Lee, who yesterday remained in a critical condition at the Gold Coast University Hospital, and take donations to help with any medical expenses.

Anyone wishing to attend the gathering should meet at the North Wall carpark at noon.

Both Mr Lee's legs were savaged by a suspected three- to four-metre white pointer on Thursday morning while bodyboarding about 10am with two mates off Lighthouse Beach.

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The quick response from his mates, witnesses and paramedics have been attributed in saving Mr Lee's life.

Yesterday morning Oz Grom Open junior surf contest director Tony O'Brien told the ABC surgeons had managed to save both of Mr Lee's legs, hinting at some optimism about his chances of recovery.

Mr O'Brien said infection was now a major concern of doctors.

The Northern Star was also told the injured man remained in a critical condition.

Meanwhile, hundreds of messages of support flooded in for the local bodyboarder.

His neighbour Ken Ferguson has described Mathew and his partner Suzy Gerada as a lovely couple who had moved in next door two or three months ago.

"He's always been friendly, whether it's been taking his dog for a walk or going down to the beach, he's a happy sort of guy," Mr Ferguson said.

"He always goes past and smiles and waves and says hello and so do we.

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"I think one of his mates picks him up every morning or he picks his mate up, they take turns."

On Thursday evening, Ms Gerada changed her Facebook profile picture to one of her and Mathew.

Since then, more than 100 messages of support have been posted.

Danielle Dean wrote: "Oh my gosh Suzy! I'm so sad to hear the attack happened to anyone let alone your partner Matt! My thoughts are with you both! I'm hoping you are both doing ok considering these awful circumstances. Sending positive vibes, blessings and lots of love to you guys."

"Suz our family is thinking of you both. We are so sorry to hear such terrible news. We are sending countless thoughts and prayers your way," Jenna Bogaards wrote.

Tracy Preston said: "Sending our love and prayers to you both Suz. Lee Lee is surrounded by a community of love, strength and support."

"OMG Suzy my sweet cuz. I just heard what happened, were overseas so was unaware. I'm sending you and Matt all my love, and prayers. I know he has a lot of love and support around him," Claire Dardano wrote.

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