PEOPLE IN OUR community have recently been involved in a tragic event after witnessing the happiest day of the lives of two of their friends.
The stories that have been flowing about that event across the national and international news are of loss, suffering, and anguish.
Yes, there has been much of that, but we will not be revisiting that here except to acknowledge the hurt and loss of our fellow community members and to honour the bravery of those on the bus on that dark night.
Back home, there has been grief, but it has also been a story of love.
Love for friends and family, love for teammates, and love for neighbours.
Our town has opened its heart to support those that have lost their lives, or their loved ones, or have been injured, traumatised, and distressed.
While I do not for a moment take away from the bravery and the tragedy of those directly involved, I want to take a moment to reflect on the love and care of those who have cared from near and afar.
At the forefront of that is the Warrandyte Sporting Group — most notably the Cricket Club committee, who had media camped outside the clubrooms for days, fielding hundreds of calls from an insatiable media.
The media were there because the whole country cared about what our community was going through, as lives were shattered hundreds of miles from home.
The club’s compassion for the team members and families has been humbling.
They have wrapped their arms around them and given them the support they needed physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When you are part of a sporting club, having to provide trauma support of this magnitude is unimaginable, but they have stepped up and embodied the club’s core values of commitment, respect, integrity, selflessness, and positivity — and above all, mateship.
So, to Royce, David, Rachel, and the rest of the club’s executive, thank you for being the best of Warrandyte.
Member for Menzies, Keith Wolahan, stood up in Federal Parliament to acknowledge the compassion on display in our community.
“Warrandyte is not just a suburb, it is a community,” he said.
And he is so right.
Hundreds of people have opened their wallets to donate what they could to the fundraising efforts — over $55,000 at last count; more than $42,000 has been donated to a GoFundMe page, and Warrandyte Lions Club has donated $5,000 to the cause.
Many have attended the benefit concert at the RSL, which raised $8,000; the benefit day at Donvale Bowls Club; observed the minute’s silence at the football; or offered practical and emotional support to the families involved.
So, to the bride and groom, Maddie and Mitchell, and their families who still reside in Warrandyte; the 13 Warrandytians who travelled to the Hunter Valley to share their special day with their friends, and their families who subsequently flew to NSW to care for them — all of Warrandyte shares your pain, your loss, and your grief.
To the emergency services who attended the worst bus crash in NSW history and the medical staff who treated the injured, thank you from a grateful community for caring for our sons and daughters.
It will be months until the physical injuries heal, and much longer for the emotional scars to fade — some may never.
But, as always, we will go forward, with love.
[AS IT HAPPENED] Tributes Flow
Tributes are going out to those involved in the Hunter Valley bus crash which has killed at least ten people, including Warrandyte woman Darcy Bulman.
The 37 people on the bus were wedding guests of former Warrandyte residents Mitchell Gaffney and Maddy Edsell, including nine members of Warrandyte Cricket Club and their partners.
The couple moved to Singleton about five years ago after growing up in Warrandyte, where they attended Warrandyte High School and played Football, Cricket and Netball for Warrandyte.
Warrandyte Cricket Club president Royce Jaksic said there were up to nine club members and their partners on the bus at the time of the crash.
The club has offered its condolences to the family of Ms Bulman, “a much-loved community member”.
Other members of the club remain in hospital, including her partner, who is a serious but stable condition.
“The remaining Warrandyte Cricket Club members are all recovering well, with some still in hospital.
“The club is supporting them to return home and with their ongoing recovery,” he said.
Mayor Cr Deirdre Diamante released a statement on behalf of Manningham Council.
“I along with the Councillors and all at Manningham are sending our thoughts to the families of the people affected by the horrific bus accident in the Hunter Valley.
“Many people from the Warrandyte Cricket Club were involved and we understand how much this will impact the close-knit community of Warrandyte and surrounds,” she said.
Member for Menzies, Keith Wolahan told the Diary: “We know that Warrandyte’s Sporting clubs are tight-nit.
“They are like a family to each other.
“My thoughts are with everyone impacted by this devastating tragedy.
“My office is standing by to assist in any way we can.”
Anyone who would like to donate to the victims of the crash can do so via Warrandyte Cricket Club’s GoFundMe page or the Rotary Club of Singleton.
Warrandyte RSL, in conjunction with the cricket club, is holding a benefit concert on Sunday June 25.
As part of the RSL’s Bands By The Bridge, Covers in the Corner will perform at the Warrandyte RSL, with proceeds going to support those affected by the crash.