THE Whitsunday Coast Guardian has attracted many loyal readers over the years, but perhaps among one of the most dedicated is Lloyd Fox who read the paper all the way from Malaysia during an army posting.
Mr Fox’s family ties to Proserpine date back to 1882, with a family namesake reflected in the nearby town of Foxdale.
A history buff and long-serving member of the army, Mr Fox can recount many a front cover of the Whitsunday Coast Guardian from over the years.
However, one of the most heartbreaking stories recorded in the paper’s pages was delivered to Mr Fox with a slight delay.
He was serving in Malaysia when Cyclone Ada tore through the town and news of the tragedy didn’t arrive until weeks later.
This was often the case as news from home made its way to Mr Fox by boat, but he enjoyed reading about the trials and tribulations of Proserpine regardless.
“We had a post office and my mum used to send me the Guardian,” he said.
“They’d obviously come by ship and you’d get nothing for two months and then my mate would ring up and say ‘your bloody firewood’s here!’ and I would go down and there’s about six issues of the Guardian all wrapped together.
“Sometimes you’d get two in a week and then nothing for two months.”
Mr Fox said the Cyclone Ada coverage was perhaps the most memorable Guardian stories in his lifetime, although he also spent many hours poring over the cricket pages.
His love for cricket has been passed on to today’s hall of fame hopefuls through coaching.
However, Mr Fox’s love for the sport came back to bite him during a friendly rivalry with previous editor Bernie Lewis.
“I played cricket and I was a spin bowler, and Bernie Lewis, the owner of the paper, couldn’t play spin bowling,” he said.
“He wasn’t a bad cricketer, he was not a bad batter … but when I was 15 or 16 I used to sledge him.
“Years later I’m in the Air Force, and we go on exercise in New Zealand for two weeks. The RAF took a public relations photographer and he wandered around taking photos and said ‘Where do you come from? I’ll send it to your local paper.’
“My photos were never in the Guardian, so (Bernie) won in the end.”
Mr Fox said the final print edition of the Whitsunday Coast Guardian marked the end of an era but he looked forward to seeing the cricket scores in a different medium.
The last Whitsunday Coast Guardian will appear in print on Friday, but rest assured there will still be journalists on the ground in the Proserpine community covering the stories that matter most, including the cricket, in the new digital-only era.