Search for missing boy at Wallu near Tin Can Bay at the Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay road turnoff. Locals with horses were asked by police to take part in the search.
Search for missing boy at Wallu near Tin Can Bay at the Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay road turnoff. Locals with horses were asked by police to take part in the search. Greg Miller

Tin Can Bay community rallies around five-year-old

YOU can be lost in the rain and with all the worries in the world, but you do not have to be alone at Tin Can Bay.

Five-year-old Ahlee Grant did not know how many friends he and his family had when he disappeared for the day in the almost featureless forest near his parent's home at Wallu.

Neighbours joined State Emergency Service volunteers in helping police.

They were joined by parents and staff from Ahlee's pre-school and even a lot of people who hardly knew the family at all.

Shops and restaurants provided meals for searchers.

Police were amazed, local SES chief Donna Douglas said.

"They said, 'You've got a great team and a very unique township.'

"We had four local horse riders and other locals on motorbikes, in 4wds and on foot," she said.

MORE: Ahlee's day out: lizards, mozzies and lots of helicopters

"They added to a team of five volunteers from Tin Can Bay SES and six from Gympie.

"The Salvation Army rang up to see if we wanted the welfare trailer activated, the Tin Can Bay Country Club offered to provide meals, we had six hot chooks the IGA had provided for us.

"They provided food and support for probably about 30 people, including 15 police.

"That's how we do it at Tin Can Bay.

"If I call for help, it happens.

"The minute we put anything on the SES site looking for volunteers, they start arriving.

"I was out at Kandanga (helping with the Mitchell Creek Rock 'n' Blues festival) and Ted Logan from the Gympie SES activated the search and got things started until I could get there

"When we finished for the day, we went out to help too," Lyn Harold, who runs Ahlee's pre school, Kiddly Winks at Tin Can Bay, said.

"Parents came said they wanted to help and after we closed up here, about five or six of us went up and shone torches into the forest, hoping anyone lost would be able to see them."

Ahlee's grateful parents Michael Grant and Emma Ganua were also glad their son had the company of two reliable dogs, his best friends on his darkest day.

Gympie Times


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