Sherry children sworn off beaches

THE three Sydney children who lost their parents in a drowning accident at South Ballina beach have sworn never to swim at a beach again.

“We will never visit a beach again,” the three children told The Sunday Telegraph.

Parents Joe and Carole Sherry drowned last week while trying to rescue two of their children who were struggling in a rip.

Elise Sherry, 14, said she and her nine-year-old brother Nicholas became separated while in the surf.

“At the time I couldn’t see him, we’d been separated, then dad was separated and I didn’t know mum got in the water,” said Elise who was celebrating her birthday.

Monique, who was sitting on the beach with her parents before they entered the water, watched as the drama unfolded but was unable to help due to suffering from autism.

“(Nicolas) got out of the water about five minutes before I did...,” Elise said. “So when I was able to touch the floor I got out of the water and Nicholas ran up to me and helped me out.”

“The first thing I did was dial triple 0 (on her father’s mobile) and they told me to send Nicholas to the caravan park to fetch an adult and warn them that an ambulance was on the way.

“He came down and not long after there were helicopters and ambulances.”

The family was visiting Mr Sherry’s sister and her family and credit their uncle’s earlier advice for saving their lives.

“(Uncle Emil) told us if you ever get caught in a rip, you can either go with the rip, or try to swim around it, but the number one thing is try and keep your head above water,” Elise told The Sunday Telegraph.

“I think that’s what kept us alive, that’s what saved us from drowning.”

Elise also spoke lovingly of her mother and father as ‘good people who were always ready to help others’.

“My mother was a gentle, really nice woman – she was amazing.”

“My dad was funny, he loved the land and that’s why we moved to the property.”

“My dad made Monique a swing and he bought us motorbikes because he grew up with motorbikes.”

“The day before he passed away, we went out looking for a windmill because his next idea was to put up a windmill.”

The family asked to thank ambulance officers, police and ambulance chaplains, the Richmond Local Area Command and the lifesavers who tried to resuscitate Mr Sherry.

Lismore police have set up a fund to help the children. Donations can be made at any Westpac branch to the Sherry Orphans Family Appeal, BSB 034-002, account 333453

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