THE Shoalhaven community has been left in shock after news well-known former businessman and car enthusiast Noel Kennedy and his wife Marie Jose have been seriously injured in an accident on their way home from a Variety Bash event.
The couple had completed this year's event from Bondi to Batt Reef in Port Douglas and were on their way home when they had an accident in between Atherton and Innisfail, Far North Queensland earlier this week.
They were travelling with another local couple Ron and Kim Pearce when the accident happened.
Mr Kennedy's beloved and well-known red Ford XY Falcon GT1 left the road.
The couple suffered significant injuries and were both airlifted to Townsville Hospital.
They are now reported to be in a stable condition, Noel suffering a broken neck, ribs and sternum, Marie Jose a number of broken ribs, a broken back and neck, broken ankle and punctured lung.
Thankfully despite their injuries, they both still have feeling and movement in their limbs.
Long-time friend and former bash enthusiast Peter Flanagan said news of the accident had left "everyone in shock".
"They had completed the bash and were just cruising home over a couple of weeks as a holiday," he said.
"Apparently for some unknown reason the car just left the road.
"They were heading to Innisfail for lunch and had already had four stops during the morning."
For many years Mr Flannagan and Mr Kennedy took part in Variety Bashes together.
In December last year the pair teamed up with fellow local Al Spencer to take part in the 50th anniversary of the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon.
"Noel's been everywhere in that old car," Mr Flanagan said.
"He's completed around 150,000 kilometres around the country doing bashes for 18 years and never had an issue.
"This is unbelievable and so hard as we are so far away from them."
He said the couple would have a long recovery ahead of them, but they had been joined in Townsville by fellow local bashers John and Jenny Lawrence and Ron and Kim Pearce and their children Troy and Tracy had travelled to support them.