Belinda Lorking-Tanner

If not for the love of sea glass

By Suzy Casement

Suzy and Belinda

I am sitting here reflecting on the life of one of our Australian seasters, a beautiful soul who left this world way too soon, Belinda Lorking Tanner on Instagram as @belindalt. Today would have been Belinda’s 60th birthday, a birthday she was very excited for and one she planned to celebrate and enjoy to the fullest, just like she did everything in her life.

I was fortunate enough to meet Belinda through our Australian sea glass community. If it wasn’t for this, our paths may never have crossed, and my life would have been poorer for it. Belinda made everyone feel special—she always had so much love to give and she gave it so freely. She often told you that she loved you.

Her death has left many people around the world surprised, and so many of her Instagram family have reached out in shock and sadness about her passing. Even if they didn’t get to meet her in real life, she still made them feel loved, and they cherished her friendship.

Belinda had fought long and hard to keep her cancer at bay and surprised everyone with her results. She gave it her all, forever positive and focused on fighting this disease, but also on living her life to the fullest. It was an 11-year battle, and she kicked its butt three times, but this last time was a lot harder to surmount.

Belinda was one of a kind: so gentle in nature, softly spoken, kind to everyone, and extremely generous. I would receive mail from her with a note saying she wanted to send me a gift and wanted to keep it private. It was so touching to know she just thought of you and wanted you to know it. I look around and cherish these items from her.

I am so thankful that our paths crossed over the love of rubbish that people discarded a century or more ago. These people never knew the remains would be considered treasure in the future, how coveted a Codd marble or stopper would be, and that a whole community would unite in their love of sea glass. It is an incredible hobby to be a part of and the loss of Belinda is very noticeable. She always commented and encouraged you on. I miss her but I am thankful I got to experience being Belinda’s friend.

I’m lucky to have visited her home on my trips to Queensland, thankful to have met her dog Sunshine, her family, and to have stood in awe with Lainie in front of Belinda’s beautiful collection of sea glass and beach-inspired memorabilia that filled her amazing house. Sea glass was a huge part of her life and her family and friends accepted it. I am sure not all understood it—just like our families and friends—but it meant a lot to Belinda and that was all that mattered.

She will never be forgotten, and there isn’t a visit I take to the beach where I don’t think of her, or think “she would love this” or “I’ll keep that for Bel.” It still happens—now and then I correct myself and try to accept she is gone, forever. She will always be one of the best friends the love of sea glass has given me, and I will always treasure her more than anything

I find on the beach.

Love, Suzy xo


By Lainie

Lainie and Belinda

Yellow, Sunshine, and salt water. Things she loved, and three words that will always remind me of Belinda.

In March 2018, we met through the beachcombing community on Instagram—two Queenslanders brought together by the shared love of sea glass and seashells. She loved my posts and I loved hers—especially when she would share pictures and videos of her adorable little dog, Sunshine. We’d always leave each other sweet comments on our posts, always making each other smile. I loved hearing about her travels to Hawaii and seeing her posts of the adventures she was having there. I was traveling vicariously through her.

On August 10, 2018, Bel shared a post celebrating her one year remission from a very rare cancer that she had. I had no idea she had been through this battle, as she didn’t talk about it. Instead, she enjoyed all the little things in life and focused on that.

I was so excited to fly to Sydney in November 2019. As scared as I am of flying, the joy and excitement of finally getting to meet my Aussie sea sisters in real life was worth the anxiety. Dear Suzy and her hubby Steve picked me up from the airport and off we went to Malabar Beach to gather with the other seasters. How lucky was I? I got to share an apartment with Bel and Fi. It was like we had known each other all our lives, not just a couple of years, and the conversations flowed easily. We were all Geminis and had so much in common.

Bel was like the typical, caring big sis. She would not let me sleep on the lounge, choosing it for herself instead, so I could sleep in one of the bedrooms. She had the biggest heart. It was my first time in Sydney, so Bel drove us around and showed us all the tourist spots and all her fave beaches that she loved to visit. It was so much fun. I will forever treasure those memories of our weekend together.

Bel was such a kind and generous friend. I’d receive little surprises from her in the mail when it wasn’t even my birthday. One of my favorite gifts was a gorgeous apron of hers. She never wore it and wanted me to have it because she knew I loved to cook. It has mermaids, turtles, and seahorses on it—things we both love. It’s so special to me, especially now.

I am sitting on my beach to write this. It seemed fitting to be by the sea while I think of her. I know she’s out there swimming free in eternity with her favorite animals, the sea turtles. I’m in my favorite corner where the shells are. Bel had planned a trip with her best friend to come and visit me, and sit right here on this spot. But the COVID pandemic of 2020 stopped that. And then in 2021, a visit by a local crocodile postponed the next trip. Bel loved her early morning ocean swims so there was no way I’d have her risking getting into the water with him hanging around!

Then 2022 arrived—and with it, health issues that saw her in and out of the hospital. She fought so bloody hard for those she loved.

My family did a trip to the Gold Coast at the beginning of this year, January 2023. Bel and I walked together down to the beach and stood on the famous Deck of Knowledge. Little did I know that when I left her, that would be the last time I’d ever hug her. After nearly six years of fighting the biggest battle of her life, sadly, Bel passed away surrounded by her loving family on May 7th, 2023.

A week later, while I was walking in my garden thinking of her, a little yellow butterfly appeared. It was flitting around a frangipani that had just bloomed for the first time. The name of this frangi is “Sunshine.” I kid you not! I believe in signs and messages from above and I truly believe this was a message from Bel telling me she’s ok.

I am forever thankful I got to know her and call her my friend.

Brave, Beautiful, Belinda. I miss you.

Love Lainie xo

To Belinda

By Fiona Dart

Left: Lainie, Belinda, Sunshine, and Suzy. Center: Belinda joked, “It was fancy dress,” at the Sea Glass Sisterhood Sydney Weekend in 2019. Right: Fiona and Belinda.

I first met Belinda and her husband Phil well over five years ago. We initially connected through Instagram, and although we both resided in different states, we built our friendship through many direct messages. We bonded instantly. Belinda and Phil had often visited Tasmania (where I reside) for holidays. The couple loved coming to Tassie, and my husband Pete and I loved playing host.

We shared so many coincidences. Our daughters share the same name, we are both Geminis, and born nine days apart. When I mentioned our remote gate code to Belinda, it was quite remarkable as her code to her gate at home was exactly the same. Most of all we are both beachcombers. I felt as though I had found my seasister from another mister. I felt extremely connected to Belinda. We shared a unique and special tie and so did our husbands. When they visited, Belinda and I would go beachcombing and the boys would play golf. Belinda was a kind and generous human. She radiated sunshine, hence her love of yellow and everything beachy.

Her family was her life. She adored her husband, her three children, and her little dog Sunshine. She was always positive and full of fun. Unbelievably resilient she was. I knew she was in and out of remission and she fought a courageous battle without complaint. Seven months ago when I had my own health issue, she wanted to fly down to Tasmania to be with me. This is a testament to her selfless and loving character. I am missing Belinda. I think about her every day and I dearly miss our friendship. I thank my lucky stars that our paths crossed and feel humbled and grateful to have known this gorgeous woman.

I’m still grappling with the fact that I will never see her again. Her life was cut short and I was so looking forward to us turning 60 together and sharing our birthday experiences. Sadly that was not to be. I will never forget you, Belinda, and your legacy of love and kindness. May you forever beachcomb to your heart’s content and continue to eat the yummy Valhalla ice cream you used to love so much when you came to Tasmania.

Sleep peacefully my beautiful friend. To know you was to love you.


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