By Tita Smith For Daily Mail Australia
04:58 25 Jun 2023, updated 08:38 25 Jun 2023
- Ten people killed in Hunter Valley bus crash
- Funerals will begin from Monday
Families of the ten Hunter Valley bus crash victims are finally preparing to say their goodbyes after facing major delays amid the ongoing police investigation.
From Monday, the ten people killed in Australia’s worst road disaster in three decades will start being laid to rest in emotional funerals across the country.
Angus Craig, Zachary Bray, Tori Cowburn, Rebecca Mullen, Nadene and Kyah McBride, Kane Symons, Andrew and Lynan Scott, and Darcy Bulman were killed when a bus carrying 35 wedding guests rolled at Greta at 11.30pm on June 11.
Devastated relatives have been waiting more than two weeks to bury their loved ones as investigators worked to formally identify the bodies.
The formal farewells – which are expected to stretch out for weeks – mark the next painful chapter for the family, friends, and colleagues of those tragically killed – many of whom shared close friendships.
The victims – and other wedding guests – had travelled from all over the country to attend the nuptials of Maddy Edsell and Mitchell Gaffney, who only moved to the Hunter region a few years ago from Melbourne.
Engineer Angus Craig, 28, will be the first to be laid to rest when he is farewelled in a service at The Chapel, Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens, at Worrigee, on the NSW south coast at 11am on Monday.
Mr Craig, who was working in the coal mines in Central Queensland at the time of his death, was a close friend of the groom Mitch Gaffney, who he met while attending university in Singleton.
He was just months away from becoming a first-time uncle and has been remembered as a ‘talented engineer’ with an ‘infectious smile and ‘boundless enthusiasm’.
‘Such piercing blue eyes, softly spoken and gentle, such a true gentleman, you will truly be missed by all of us,’ his aunt Lex wrote on an online tribute wall.
Friend Mekayla Burdfield said she was still ‘trying to wrap her head’ around the fact he was gone.’
‘You were so special Angus… Genuine, caring, compassionate, and singular in your kindheartedness,’ she wrote.
‘The gratitude I feel having shared memories, laughter and life with you is immeasurable. I thank you eternally for the lessons you taught me, and the way you filled my journey with love and happiness.’
Junior doctor Rebecca Mullen, who worked at Calvary Mater Newcastle hospital, was just weeks away from marrying her fiancé Sam Howard when her life was tragically cut short.
Instead, loved ones will say goodbye to her in a funeral service at Singleton on Wednesday.
Tributes have been pouring in online for the ‘beautiful human being’ who was a member of the local dancing community.
‘Bec will always be remembered for her kind heart and warming smile, nothing ever a problem and always there to help if you needed it,’ Hunter Urban Dance Studio wrote online.
‘Much loved and deeply missed by family and friends, thank you for being an amazing, gorgeous human being, inside and out. We are privileged to have known you and you have touched our lives forever.’
University of Sydney’s St John’s College said started a Bachelor of Veterinary Bioscience with them in 2016 before transferring to the University of Newcastle to pursue a degree in medicine.
Rector Dr Mark Schembri said the college was ‘saddened’ by her death and sent its condolences to her family and friends.
In a heartbreaking post on Saturday, her fiancé Sam invited loved ones to attend the Civic Centre at 11am on June 28 to ‘celebrate’ her life.
‘We ask that you wear floral or bright attire, and bring a special memory or photo for our family to collect and read in the future,’ he wrote.
Meanwhile, Talented surfer Kane Symons, 21, from Tasmania, will be farewelled in a ceremony in South Hobart on Sunday July 2.
The apprentice electrician had moved to Singleton for work, where he met his girlfriend Kyah McBride, who also died in the crash alongside her mother Nadene.
The Carlton Park Surf Lifesaving Club said the ‘Day for Kane’ will begin with a 10am paddle out ceremony at 10am, followed by the funeral at 2pm at C3 Church.
‘Please meet at the club at 9.45am (paddle ready – wetsuit, booties, gloves, and craft of any kind) to join with family and friends in a ceremonial paddle out,’ the club wrote on Facebook.
‘The club will have some additional boards available for those who are visiting from interstate.’
After spending the day at Wandin Valley Estate, the victims were on their way back to Singleton when the bus rolled onto its side on Wine Country Drive near the Hunter Expressway.
The wreckage was so horrific disaster victim identification specialists were called in to help identify those killed.
While the funerals have faced delays, informal memorials and vigils have been held in honour of the victims in Singleton, Sydney, Victoria and Tasmania.
It is expected the bride and groom will attend the funerals as well as family, friends, and members of the Singleton community.
Funeral services are yet to be announced for bowel cancer survivor Zachary Bray, from Byron Bay, Melbourne accountant Darcy Bulman, and Singleton footballers Tori Cowburn and married couple Andrew and Lynan Scott.
Last week, Ms Edsell and Mr Gaffney issued a statement thanking the community for its ‘outpouring of love and support’.
A fundraiser launched to support the victims raised more than $242,000 within days, with the NSW Government pledging to contribute an additional $100,000.