Sadness, tears and bursts of laughter filled the home of Ann New last Tuesday, when a group of Kadina High School students gathered to reminisce and celebrate the lives of their four friends who were killed in a car accident at Broken Head on the weekend.The year 11 students found that laughter was indeed the best medicine to heal their wounded hearts, but tears were never far away as the group shared tales of their good mates.While the mood was light at times, many found themselves overwhelmed by emotion when Kiwat Kennell performed a tribute song he wrote for the dead boys Mitchell Eveleigh (16), Bryce Wells (17), Paul Morris (16) and Corey New (16).
This is really healthy for them and for us, said Coreys mother Ann. They are just a great group of friends. Theyve been here for the last three hours talking and singing. Some have gone into Coreys room, some have been on the computer, others have been watching the video of their time two weeks ago at Dalwood Falls after their exams. Its just whatever they need.
Ann said she had been disappointed to have some of her comments to the media used to further the political debate surrounding P-plate drivers. She said her only reason for speaking to the media was to respect our boys and to support Tyler (Green) the driver of the car and the only survivor of the accident, which occurred on the Coast Road just after midnight on Sunday morning.
Theres nothing political about this, she said. Its just so personal and private. Its just the love for our boys and asking for the respect that Tyler needs. Hes going to need support and love. Hes on an equally long journey. Hes got to cope with four friends gone by accident, not intent.
The teens spoke about the need to be together during this time of grieving.
When you are not with your friends you just keep thinking about it, said Daniel Rose. Its hard to sleep at night. You just lie there thinking about them the whole time.
Kiwat said the song he wrote about his four friends helped keep him occupied when he was alone.
Its a tribute, he said. Its saying we should just remember the good times we had with them. If you remember, then everything will be alright.
After performing the song, Kiwat looked around the room at his friends, many of whom were in tears.
I dont know what to say after that song, because everybody is always down, he said.
Play the monkey song, suggested Coreys dad Mark. To cheer everybody up.
Kiwat launched into a few bars of an upbeat, silly tune and the atmosphere lightened.
Friends said Corey knew everybody and had united their year at school.
The groups at school were all separate, said Martin Cameron. Corey came over to our group and from then on all the different groups just merged. He just turned all of us into one family.
Everyone knew Corey, added Matt Jones. Youd be down at the Trinity bus bays and he would be saying hi to everyone, from all the different schools.
Matt said classes had been cancelled for year 11 at Kadina, but nobody at school was managing to do much work as the accident had hit everyone hard.
Its hard to concentrate, he said They were like idols. Corey was going to be school captain next year.
Meanwhile, the teenagers remembered Bryce Wells as the most responsible kid.
I remember he took me down town one time he was a very considerate person. He even let us play our music on the way down, said Isabel Winwood. He was just beautiful. He never complained.
Mitchell Eveleigh was the best guitarist and known for his hair, his band shirts and belt buckles.
He had his own style, said Kiwat. He was pretty much awesome. He was only 16 and he could play anything. He always said what he thought. He was really funny and down to earth. He would try anything once. He was the worst soccer player, but he would give it a go.
The group said Paul Morris had respect for absolutely everyone.
He always had a smile on his face, said Cameron. If you had a problem, tell Paul and it would be fixed by the afternoon. He was also known for his hair styles bright pink, bright blue. Last week he had a cheetah do, brown with blond spots. And he could run. He was really sporty. He was involved with everything.
The friends also spoke of Tyler Green, the driver, and expressed their support and empathy with him.
Hes going to have that burden on himself, said Kiwat. So he needs all our support. Well be waiting for him.
This turned the conservation to the debate about tightening restrictions for P-plate drivers.
I hate the way they are saying its P-platers, said Isabel. Tyler was experienced and he was a good driver. It could have happened to anyone. I dont think a curfew (for P platers) would change what people are going to do. They would just break it anyway.
The year 11 students were also critical of the reporters that descended on Kadina High School less than 24 hours after the accident.
They were trying to get in on Sunday, said Isabel. They were pestering peoples younger brothers and sisters for numbers, just to get any information they could. Its too hard to deal with even without them coming up. They shouldnt ask people who are grieving.
The teenagers said the Kadina teachers had been their rocks and the support from the school had been fantastic. They especially wanted to thank Mr Wilcox and Mr Sipe.
The teachers have been really good, said Isabel. But you can see theyre really suffering as well.
Funeral services for the four boys will be held at the following times:
Friday, October 27, at 10am at St Carthages Cathedral.
Friday, October 27, at 2pm at the Lismore Uniting Church.
Saturday, October 28, at 9am at the Lismore Uniting Church.
Saturday, October 28, at 1pm at St Carthages Cathedral.
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