Ballina High School grieves over mates lost in car crash

Flowers laid at the site of a single vehicle accident where four people were killed when the car left the road and collided with a tree near Newrybar.
Flowers laid at the site of a single vehicle accident where four people were killed when the car left the road and collided with a tree near Newrybar. Marc Stapelberg

THE deaths of former Ballina High School students William Manton and Richard Wells along with their friends Jessica Camidge and Samantha Enright have rocked the school community, with counselling being offered, relieving Principal John Douglas said.

Mr Douglas said six counsellors were at the school yesterday to assist the school community.

"It's a very sad day at this school and I've got students and staff who are grieving deeply," he said. "Both young men were well-respected within the school and ... had a large contribution into the school.

"I've got extra counsellors that have come into the school and extra support staff that are in this school right at the very moment and also reaching out deeper into the community.

Three of the four Newrybar crash victims: Jessica (Jesse) Camidge (left), William Manton (centre) and Richard Wells.
Three of the four Newrybar crash victims: Jessica (Jesse) Camidge (left), William Manton (centre) and Richard Wells.

"We have had families of the victims come in to the school and we have been working with them during this extremely difficult time."

The crash also brought back memories for Rob Wells after his son and three mates were tragically killed in a crash on Broken Head Rd in 2006.

Over the past seven years Mr Wells has been working on plans for the construction on a young driver training facility for the region.

"We are currently finalising engineering details so the construction certificate can be lodged with council, hopefully in the next few weeks" he said.

Formed in January 2007 following the deaths of Bryce Wells, Corey New, Mitchell Eveleigh and Paul Morris, Southern Cross LADS (Learn About Driving Skills) aims to teach high school students from years 10 to 12, safe driving behaviour and increase their awareness about road risks.

"The plan is for it to be a regional facility where students from about 32 high schools from Tweed to Coffs Harbour can come and learn safe driving behaviour and techniques," Mr Wells said.

When he heard about Wednesday's horrific quadruple fatality, memories flooded back of his own experience.

"I could sit down and say to the parents it's going to be very tough for the next four or five years until you get over it, but it never goes away," he said emotionally.

Topics:  editors picks, newrybar fatal

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