Tingira Australia Association President, Lance Ker, today announced that former Royal Australian Navy Junior Recruits, David Cassidy and Philip Lancaster are the joint winners of this years Tingira Stonehaven Medal for 2017.
The Stonehaven medal is awarded to the Tingira member who can show cause in their local community or naval duties for ‘going beyond and above the normal call of duty’. January 2001, former Navy Chief Petty Officer, Mick Sharp, was medically discharged from the navy when diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after many painful years leading up to this situation at sea and on shore establishments.
Mick did not have much on his side at this time in his life. Supporting his family in Canberra, then having to live with his mother in Brisbane, and finally sent to a psychiatric clinic. Mick’s future was looking very dark, his condition continued to deteriorate, until he met two of Brisbane’s leading neurologists, Professor. Peter Silburn and Dr. Terry Coyne.
January, 2010 at age 43, the Brisbane neurologists team offered Mick a solution with a new and sophisticated brain operation, ‘Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation’. This operation could repair and return him to a normal life style, a painful journey it would be with some luck required for all to balance out. Mick’s future would no longer be back on the steel decks of the ships he once loved and served in. HMAS Stalwart, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart of the Royal Australian Navy would be his grand memories of his sea journeys and great times with many fellow sailor mates. Mick’s life is going in a new direction from this day, he lived on hope and love from his family and friends. A small cost of many thousands of dollars would also be required for the medical treatment, Mick’s next big problem.
Through some local navy contacts in Brisbane, one of Mick’s former shipmates, Dave ‘Butch’ Cassidy, who joined the navy in 1982 at HMAS Leeuwin, Fremantle, at the age of 15 as a Tingira Boy sailor with Mick, said “he has a plan, standby Mick Sharp, I think our navy brothers can help” and help they did.
Dave made contact with another of their former Junior Recruit within that intake No. 81 of shipmates from HMAS Leeuwin. Philip Lancaster, who was living in London at the time was in contact with Dave. Explaining Mick’s fate, that he needed some complicated brain treatment and support, this was urgent, Mick was not in good shape.
The navy lads crunched numbers and came up with the required funds to support Mick’s operation. A ship mate they had not seen for over 26 years, this was more than just a good gesture, true navy mate ship was at ‘action stations’ on their home front.
July 2018 and this Parkinson’s Disease story is now history. Mick successfully had his brain operation, is back to a healthy life style after many years of ongoing treatment. Not all was smooth sailing, Mick also incurred two skin cancer melanoma operations along the journey. Today Mick, wife Judi and daughter Katelyn are settled in Brisbane, health is good for all of them. Mick is not back amongst the navy ranks, however he is enjoying his new community lifestyle as a ‘QLD Justice of the Peace’, working in local shopping centres as a community representative.
Tingira Australia Association will honour the two Tingira Boys, Dave Cassidy and Philip Lancaster who took the time, effort and courage to save a mate, Mick Sharp and rewarded him with an extended life and gave his family a future and security of having Mick around for a few more decades “Tingira Boy Mick Sharp is here today with family on this unique reunion and grand occasion. An occasion fit for a former Governor General such as Lord Stonehaven to have his name strongly associated with our Tingira past with all things done good.
“A special thank you to Philip Lancaster for all that he has done, especially that he flew on the midnight flight from Perth to be in Brisbane for the presentation and CEO Mathew Rowe of the QLD Maritime Museum for hosting the Stonehaven Medal presentations on board the bridge of the former RAN WW11 frigate, HMAS Diamantina, at this delightful Queensland Maritime Museum.
“I am proud to present the The Stonehaven Medal in our recognition that these two Tingira Boys went ‘above and beyond their normal course of duty’ in what was truly a case of navy solidarity with our ‘brothers in arms’ at the Tingira Australia Association”, said President Lance Ker. Philip Lancaster and Dave Cassidy stood honoured on the Bridge of Diamantina with their Stonehaven medals and said they did it for all the boys of the 81st intake to save one of their truly remarkable brothers, Mick Sharp.