Work has commenced on erecting a permanent memorial for Toyah Cordingley at Wangetti Beach. The current memorial in place at the entrance to the car park. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Work has commenced on erecting a permanent memorial for Toyah Cordingley at Wangetti Beach. The current memorial in place at the entrance to the car park. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

‘Why did this happen?’: Friend of Toyah Cordingley opens up

TOYAH Cordingley's heartbroken family have penned several pages full of paper listing everyone who has come to the aid of their family in the devastating wake of the tragedy.

As the one-year mark looms since the 24-year-old was murdered on Wangetti Beach, a family friend has revealed their ongoing struggle and how thankful they are of how Cairns and the wider community has come together to support them.

Works began at the beach yesterday where a permanent memorial will be built in her honour which will be opened with official ceremony on Saturday, two days before the October 21 anniversary.

Wayne "Prong" Trimble said they worked with Toyah's family on the project and her mum Vanessa Gardiner would be helping with the construction

Work has commenced on erecting a permanent memorial for Toyah Cordingley at Wangetti Beach. Family friend Wayne
Work has commenced on erecting a permanent memorial for Toyah Cordingley at Wangetti Beach. Family friend Wayne "Prong" Trimble and Cameron Donnachie, pictured with Roxy the dog, are both helping construct the memorial. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

He said they wouldn't be attending the service, but were moved by the tribute.

"They've got foolscaps of people's names and one day I think they're going to sit down and ring everyone up," he said.

Mr Trimble said in his almost-40 years living in Cairns the murder was "the worst thing that's ever happened here" and the effects continued to ripple.

"My first reaction was disbelief, then I went into shock, them I went into horror, anger. I'm still angry," he said.

Toyah Cordingley, 24, took her dog for a walk at Wangetti Beach on October 21, 2018, and did not return. Picture: Facebook
Toyah Cordingley, 24, took her dog for a walk at Wangetti Beach on October 21, 2018, and did not return. Picture: Facebook

"Why did it happen? Why did it have to happen? Why is there some maniac like that loose?

"There's been a lot of murders and a lot of cruel things happen here, but this is top of the shelf."

Close mate and sculptor Cameron Donnachie is constructing the memorial this week.

The final design will be unveiled on Saturday, but he said he wanted to make "something beautiful for her".

"I'm sure everyone who loved or knew Toyah will appreciate what we've done here for her and her family," he said.

Cairns woman Toyah Cordingley, 24, who was murdered at Wangetti Beach on October 21, 2018.
Cairns woman Toyah Cordingley, 24, who was murdered at Wangetti Beach on October 21, 2018.

"So many people I know knew Toyah and her family. I'm happy to be part of it and give my time.

"We've all got sons and daughters and if anything happened to mine I'd be shocked.

"We want to send a message out to the world that hopefully nothing like this ever happens again."

A group will meet at Ellis Beach at 3pm and travel to Wangetti for the ceremony which will include a group of Smithfield State High School students singing Amazing Grace, a minute's silence and 250 daisies being laid on the beach.



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