Uralla lady Tracy Le Messurier got the shock of her life recently when she was whisked away to Fraser Island by Channel Nine’s Getaway program. A stretch limousine ride to the airport from the Armidale Mall began the holiday of a lifetime, with camera crew in tow. She shares her exciting experience with us.
> Describe the moment when Channel Nine’s Getaway crew surprised you …
It certainly was a surprise! I still can’t believe that it happened to me. During the week prior to Getaway coming and in order to keep me close to the office, Sue our editor pretended that Focus had been nominated for a special award and that judges could be coming to our office at any time.
Anyway, on Wednesday the 26th August she declared that the judges would be arriving on that day, and she asked if I could remain in the office so that we could speak with them. At around 2pm a staff meeting was called between our photographer Simon Scott, Sue, myself and our new advertising consultant Pia. We always hold our meetings in our ‘staffroom’ – the Court House Coffee shop.
My team looked quite serious, so I dared not start chatting with all the familiar people who were dining there (as I usually would). Not long after we were seated at a table, Getaway presenter, Jason Dundas came out of nowhere and stuck his face near mine and asked, “Do you know who I am?” I replied, “No … sorry!”
My work team were looking very sheepish by this time, and I turned to notice a camera crew and a man holding a big feather duster (which I later found out was a microphone!)
Jason said to me that I had won a holiday to Fraser Island and that we had to leave right now! I thought it was some silly joke until all of these wonderful local friends appeared from everywhere. They were all there to see me off. It was amazing how many people were in on the surprise. I can’t believe that every one of them kept this secret from me.
I especially knew this was the real deal when I saw my three sons Myles, Ben and Eric in the crowd. At that very moment I burst into tears, as it was then that I realised this was no joke (my boys often pop in to my work for money ha ha, but not all at the same time!) My parents were there too. I was just so overwhelmed.
> How did you come to win the holiday?
Sue has had a difficult time over the last couple of months. Her long time partner Andy is very ill. She says that she was watching Getaway one night when she saw a competition running that asks for people to dob in someone at work.
Sue wrote to Getaway and told them how I gave up my annual leave so that she could be by Andy’s side in hospital. And the rest is history.
What Sue doesn’t realise is that I was only doing what I know she would do for me, or anyone else for that matter. I still believe it should have been Sue and her wonderful partner Andy who went on this amazing trip, but I am thankful with all my heart.
> When did you find out that your husband Greg was in on the secret?
Yes, he’s naughty isn’t he? The Getaway presenter Jason Dundas escorted me away from my so called staff meeting towards a beautiful stretch limousine that had pulled up in the Armidale Mall. He said, “We must leave right now.” And I remember saying to him, “I can’t go without my husband Greg.”
At that very moment the door to the stretch limousine opened and Greg was perched up inside it. He had a big, beaming smile on his face.
> Were your sons in on the secret as well?
They sure were. When Jason and I joined Greg in the limousine (TV cameras rolling), I said that I would need to go home and get some clothes etc. But Greg informed me that he and my boys had already packed. My suitcase was in the limo boot. Even at this most amazing time, I shuddered to think of the contents. I started to freak out.
I must now tell you that they did a pretty good job of packing for me. They threw in my whole vanity, just to be sure nothing was left behind. They did a fine job, other than the lovely lingerie thrown in by Greg. It was a negligee he had bought after my sons were born (they are now between the ages of seventeen and twenty one years of age).
Hence, it would not even fit over my head! I guess that’s due to shrinkage from sitting in my drawer for so many years (not!)
> Tell us about your time on Fraser Island?
Fraser Island is gorgeous. The weather was perfect. The Resort on the island is called Kingfisher Bay Resort. Both the resort staff and Channel Nine looked after us exceptionally well; nothing was a problem.
We would especially like to mention Kerrie, Alicia, and Kellie, who from the moment we arrived until the minute we left treated us like friends whom we’d known forever.
We went for lots of walks around the island, as well as a four wheel drive tour. I had a wonderful massage and we did heaps of swimming in the amazing pools at the resort. The Resort had beautiful restaurants serving superb food, and yes … we ate far too much!
On the Friday we went on a very special whale watching trip. I had never been on a boat out to sea, let alone seen whales up so close. They are truly beautiful creatures.
> What was your accommodation like?
The accommodation was six star, with views to die for. The house was set overlooking the ocean, with a view of the Hervey Bay shore line in the distance. The main bedroom allowed us full view from the highest level; waking up every morning to that view from the comfort of your bed was amazing.
Having its own sunken spa placed conveniently on one of the five balconies allowed us to view the sunset in comfort and enjoy a glass of bubbly in the perfect weather of Fraser Island.
The home had every conceivable appliance, including large plasma TVs in all of the four bedrooms and the state of the art kitchen (not that we were interested in cooking!)
The windows and louvres were all centrally controlled with a flick of a button, allowing the house to benefit from the cool breeze throughout the day or night.
With all the bedrooms having their own ensuites, it would be perfect for four couples or a large family. All of the staircases lit up at night. That gave the place an incredible, romantic mood in the evenings.
We noticed this home had won House of the Year in the Wide Bay area 2009 Home Awards, and it’s well deserved! This palace (as we describe it) certainly had everything and more to make the stay extremely comfortable. Six stars will do it every time!
We didn’t want to hand the key back!
> Was the camera crew filming you the whole time that you were there?
Pretty much, even though they will only use about six minutes of footage of us on air (trust me, that will be more than enough!) They were the nicest people to spend time with. There was Catherine the producer, Max the camera man, Ben the audio guy and Jason the presenter.
I didn’t realise that so much work went into making a television show, and the hours are very long. It certainly is not as glamorous for them as you may think.
> Any bloopers?
Well, actually, I wore a microphone pretty much all day everyday, and I had no idea that the sound guy Ben could hear everything I was saying. The funniest moment was when we were filming our whale watching trip.
I needed to go to the bathroom and must have forgotten that I had the mic still hooked up. (At the risk of giving too much information) the mic pack that was attached to my shorts went spiralling toward the toilet and I remember whispering to myself, “Please don’t go in.” To my surprise, when I opened the toilet door the sound guy Ben was right there with a shocked look on his face saying, “Please tell me it didn’t fall in.”
I am pleased to say that it hit the floor (phew). It was then that I realised Ben had heard every mutter I had made over the last few days. I dread to think of some personal moments he tapped into. It also explains why every time I looked at him he had a Cheshire Cat grin on his face!
> Did your hubby Greg enjoy the trip?
You mean Brad Pitt, don’t you? He felt like a superstar. He says it was an amazing experience. He enjoyed every minute of it, from the first limo ride to the last five minutes.
The Getaway crew and the Fraser Island team made him feel very special, and to be honest he could really take to the movie star lifestyle (except no one wanted his autograph!)He enjoyed being part of the TV production experience. There’s more to it than you think. The crew were so professional; they made it look easy.
Greg says that he found it hard getting back to reality. He hasn’t been so keen on taking out our garbage bins since our weekend of luxury!
> What effect has the trip had on you?
I am just an ordinary person like the rest of you and have made my share of right and wrong decisions in my life, and I am sure that I will continue to do so in the future.
This whole experience has made me realise that however busy we get we should always acknowledge the people around us. Especially at work, as we spend the majority of our time with our workmates.
We should tell our team that we appreciate them, not just on good days, but the yucky ones as well. What Sue did for me was very kind, and I intend to share kindness with everyone around me.
I’d like to suggest that next time you’re at work, spread good vibes or give your mate a compliment and if someone’s not smiling, give them one of yours.
> Thank you Tracy.