Tribute to Levi Ford
IT WAS almost a 21st birthday party like any other.
The hall at Horseshoe Creek was hired, a band played cover songs while up to 100 family and friends - some of whom had travelled great distances to be at the party - shared a few celebratory drinks.
The one difference was the guest-of-honour, Levi Ford, died seven years ago.
Levi was killed in a car crash near Kyogle with his two best mates, brothers Jesse and Eamonn Daniels on December 7, 2002.
He was only 14 years old.
Had he lived he would have turned 21 on Saturday.
Levi's sister, Samantha Ford, 22, said she would never forget the night her brother, who was just 15 months younger than her, was killed.
She was at home with her mother, Linda Ford, when a friend of the family arrived to say there had been a car accident west of Wiangaree.
Ms Ford and her mother drove around for an hour trying to find the accident.
They eventually ended up at Kyogle Memorial Hospital where their worst fears were confirmed. Levi and the brothers were dead.
“I had to identify his body. It was scary and didn't feel real,” Ms Ford said.
Word of the deaths spread quickly through the small community of Kyogle, and people began to converge on the hospital.
“They were turning up asking if it was true,” Ms Ford said.
The 16-year-old learner-driver of the car, who had been drinking, survived.
He was later sentenced to 14 months' jail with no parole
On Sunday Eamonn Daniels' six-year-old daughter, Elise, travelled from the Gold Coast with her mother to put flowers on his grave for Father's Day.
Elise was born after her father died.
Eamonn and Jesse's mother, Teri Daniels, is studying community services at TAFE.
She hopes to work with children to help them deal with risky behavior.
“I can't do anything for my boys,” she said.
“I hope I can assist young people to make the right choices.”