It has been a long time since Kurt Dempsey had to be strapped into his seat by retired Bundaberg ambulance officer-in-charge Pat Denham.
It has been a long time since Kurt Dempsey had to be strapped into his seat by retired Bundaberg ambulance officer-in-charge Pat Denham. Max Fleet

Little boy in photo all grown up

BACK in 1994, NewsMail photographer Brett Dorron captured an image of a man in uniform strapping a nine-month-old baby into a child safety restraint seat.

While the man in uniform, Queensland Ambulance Service Bundaberg officer-in-charge Pat Denham, is smiling for the camera, the baby is staring wide-eyed at the photographer, evidently wondering what is going on.

The photo went with a story warning parents to make sure their child restraint capsules were fitted properly.

Last week Mr Denham, now retired, was sorting through some of his memorabilia and came across a cutting of the article.

“I kept all that sort of stuff in a box and now I'm making it all digital,” he said.

“When I saw the cutting, I thought, ‘that baby's probably driving a car by now'.”

The baby was identified as Kurt Dempsey, and Mr Denham wondered if the NewsMail could track him down and see what he was doing now.

In fact, tracking Kurt down proved very easy.

He is the son of prominent Bundaberg real estate agent Michael Dempsey and nephew of Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey.

Now 17, he is also school captain at Shalom College, where he enjoys playing rugby and Australian rules football.

The little baby in the safety restraint capsule is all grown up now – he stands 195cm tall, 6ft 5ins in the old measure.

And yes, he is driving a car.

The car is a 1972 Camaro, given to him by a friend of his father's, although Kurt is still on his L-plates.

After he finishes school this year he is planning a gap year, working for his father in the real estate business.

But strapping himself into powerful vehicles could be in his future.

Kurt is hoping to become an airline pilot.

“I've already done a few lessons,” he said.

Mr Denham is also enjoying his life now.

He retired in 1997 and has taken up photography.

He enjoys travelling overseas and has several trips planned.



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