IN MEMORIAM: Region loses a hard working, caring woman
'SHE was prepared to put herself out, roll her sleeves up and help out.'
That is how Nanango businesswoman Jane Erkens will remember local hero Sandy Towell.
News that Sandy lost her battle with liver cancer this week has sent shockwaves through the region.
"I actually sold them their house when they first moved to town,” Ms Erkens said.
Sandy's big heart and caring nature will be sorely missed.
Ms Erkens recalled a number of occasions where Sandy put her own needs aside to help those less fortunate in the community.
"We had a lady who needed to move out of the house she was in, after her husband died,” she said.
"This lady was a pensioner and couldn't afford a removalist or anything.
"I put the call out and Sandy showed up with a small bunch of volunteers.”
Ms Erkens remembered Sandy as someone who had a caring nature and was always prepared to get her hands dirty, including putting on Christmas dinner for those without family.
"I was appreciative and grateful for what she did for people.”
"She was involved in a number of different charities.”
In 2016, Sandy put up a gallant election campaign for the Division 1 position on South Burnett council.
Councillor Roz Frohloff won the position in a tightly contested election, and she was shocked by the news of Sandy's passing.
"I couldn't believe it,” she said.
"It knocked me for six.”
The two powerful women had a strong connection.
"We did argue, but we always stayed friends.”
Looking back, the South Burnett councillor remembers Sandy said to her, with the benefit of hindsight, she was glad she didn't get the position.
"After the election, I remember she said to me, 'I think I dodged a bullet',” Cr Frohloff said.
They may have been council rivals, but Cr Frohloff and Sandy always remained friends.
She only found out about Sandy's health challenges six weeks ago.
"I saw her in the shops and she was in a wheelchair,” she said.
"I didn't believe it at first.”
Two weeks later Sandy was in Toowoomba Hospital and not expected to make it.
There's no doubt Sandy's passing has left a huge void in the community.
Cr Frohloff will always remember her close friend and rival with loving memories.
"Sandy and I always had a good relationship,” Cr Frohloff said.
"She was passionate about helping people.”
"If she had an issue with me she would come and see me,” she said.
"She called spade a spade."
Sharyn (Sandy) Towell will be laid to rest on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 10.30am with a graveside service at Nanango Cemetery.