31 August 2023

All roads lead to Lions Den as locals rally behind brain tumour patient

| Sarah Martin
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Cooktown Kindergarten director Nardia Whitman with handyman Prong Trimble, who is organising a fundraiser for kindy student Ingrid Newman.

THE Lions Den Hotel will come alive with the rev of engines, shine of chrome and live music next week with more than 1000 people expected for a fundraiser auto show for plucky four-year-old Ingrid Newman.

Cooktown man Prong Trimble, a motorbike lover who has been organising charity events for years, heard of the youngster’s battle with a brain tumour and knew he had to help out.

He also works at her kindergarten, although admitted he didn’t immediately realise she was sick.

“I heard there was a kid around who was doing it tough and one day I asked (director) Nardia, and when she told me it was Ingrid I thought ‘that can’t be her’. She’s always the first one there, the first to come out and give something a go,” he said.

The support that has followed Prong’s fundraising efforts has blown him away.

“I couldn’t believe it, everyone came on board, I walked the main street of Cooktown and collected $2770 worth of cash, prizes and vouchers in one day,” he said.

“Cooktown you are awesome and the people here make the place unreal.”

The Lions Den Automotive Show, to be held on Saturday, September 9, is open to cars, bikes and trucks, with a $5 entry fee.

The event is scheduled to start at 1pm.

Mr Trimble said there would also be live music, a car boot sale and trade displays.

Ingrid was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2020 at just 14 months old, undergoing surgery in Brisbane to relieve pressure on her brain, followed by monthly trips to the capital for chemotherapy, followed by a 10 hour surgery to remove half the tumour in 2021.

Ingrid Newman with her dad Jaxon and brothers Hector, Ragnar and Silas in April.

Her mum Belle now flies with Ingrid to Cairns every week for chemotherapy that doctors hope will stop the tumour growing.

Ingrid also has regular scans in Brisbane to monitor the tumour.

Nardia Whitman said the brave youngster was always the one with the biggest smile and loudest laugh at Cooktown Kindergarten.

“Belle is also a very kind and helpful person and has been great to us as a not for profit kindy, so it’s really nice to be able to help their family in some way,” she said.

“I’m really excited, I love my cars so I’m looking forward to seeing them all and it’s something different for Cooktown.”

Prong said he expected a large number of entries, and a big crowd.

“All the dongas and powered sites – and half the camping sites – are booked out already at the Lions Den and we have car and bike clubs coming up from Cairns, Atherton and Mackay,” he said.

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