GRIEVING FAMILY DEFENDS DRIVER
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL firstname.lastname@example.org THE family of Sam Hollingworth has defended the man who is alleged to have killed him in a hit and run accident.
Sam, 24, died after being struck by a Holden Commodore at 1.20am on Sunday on Ballina Road, near the busy High Street junction at Lismore Heights.
Sam's mother, Annie Hollingworth, said she supported Matthew Bell, who appeared in Lismore Local Court on Monday charged with dangerous driving occasioning death.
Bell, of Goonellabah, was described in court as a 'close friend' of Sam's.
Members of the Hollingworth family were at the Lismore courthouse on Monday to show their support for Bell and his family.
Ms Hollingworth also disputed information tendered to the court that said her family had threatened Bell.
She said she harboured no ill feelings towards Bell. Ms Hollingworth also yesterday paid tribute to Sam.
Sam was born in Gunnedah on February 19, 1984 to Annie and Ted Hollingworth.
He was brother to Paul and Pam, uncle to Trilly, partner to Kelly Ross and father to three-and-a-half-year-old Dominic.
Kelly said Sam was a fantastic father. "He had a passion for everything he did," she said. "And my heart will always belong to him."
Sam spent his younger years in Moree and Collarenebri before moving to Lismore 17 years ago with his family.
He rode bulls and worked on properties at Julia Creek, Moree and in the Arcadia Valley.
He was also a keen fisherman and travelled between New South Wales and Queensland to fish.
Riding motorbikes, recreational shooting and spending time with his family and friends were all big parts of his life.
"He had a passion for life like nobody else," said his mother.
"His sense of humour and quick wit formed an aura people were instantly attracted to.
"On many occasions, Sam's generosity was overwhelming. "He is now in God's hands and will be missed so very much by us all."
Ms Hollingworth also wanted to publicly thank those in the community who had rallied around her in her time of grief.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ambulance and hospital staff for trying their best to save my son, the police and detectives for their kindness and willingness to help," she said.
"Thank you so much to Marlie Dawes, Jade Streher, Natasha Kirkland and Pam Robinson for holding Sammy for us in his last moments - hearing that was a tremendous comfort and always will be.
"Thank you also to my sister girl Vanessa Martin for her wonderful love and support throughout this terrible time. God bless you."