Hunter Valley bus crash: Victims’ families gather to say goodbye after delayed funeral

The families of the ten victims of the Hunter Valley bus crash are finally set to say goodbye after major delays in the ongoing police investigation.

Starting Monday, the ten people killed in Australia’s worst highway disaster in three long years are likely to be buried in emotional funerals across the country.

Angus Craig, Zachary Bray, Tori Cowburn, Rebecca Mullen, Nadene and Kya McBride, Kane Simon, Andrew and Leanne Scott and Darcy Bulman died when the bus carrying 35 friends from a wedding ceremony crashed in Greta at 11.30pm on June 11.

Devastated family members waited more than two weeks to bury their family members while investigators worked to officially identify our bodies.

The formal farewell, expected at the end of the week, marks the next painful chapter in the tragic death for housemates, friends and colleagues, many of whom were close friends.

The victims and various friends of the wedding ceremony had traveled from all over the country to attend the marriage of Maddie Edsell and Mitchell Gaffney, who had moved to Hunter County from Melbourne just a few years earlier.

Queensland-based engineer Angus Craig, 28, is known for his “kindness” and “compassion”.

Beck Mullen from Singleton was the 2015 captain for Hunter Valley Grammar School. Will say goodbye to the trainer’s doctor on Wednesday.

Pictured: Emergency services at the scene of the Greta crash earlier this month

Engineer Angus Craig, 28, will be the first to be buried when he says goodbye at a service at The Chapel, Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens, Worrigee, on the NSW south coast, at 11am on Monday.

Mr Craig, who was working in a coal mine in central Queensland at the time of his death, was a close friend of fiancé Mitch Gaffney, whom he met while at college in Singleton.

He was only a few months away from his first uncle and is remembered as a “talented engineer” with an “infectious smile and boundless enthusiasm”.

“What a piercing blue eye, soft spoken and gentle, such a true gentleman, we will all truly miss you,” his aunt Lex wrote on an internet tribute wall.

Friend McKayla Birdfield mentioned that she is still “trying to wrap her head around” the fact that he is gone.

“You were so special Angus… Warm, caring, compassionate and special in your kindness,” she wrote.

“The gratitude I feel for sharing memories, laughter and life with you is immeasurable. I am forever grateful to you for the lessons you taught me and how you filled my journey with love and happiness.

Madeleine Edsel and Mitchell Gaffney tied the knot on Sunday afternoon at Wandin Valley Manor in the Hunter Valley.

Kane Simon (pictured) is likely to be remembered at a service in Tasmania this Sunday

Mr Simons was in a relationship with Kyu McBride (left) who also died, along with her mum Nadene (right)

Junior doctor Rebecca Mullen, who worked at Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle, was just weeks away from marrying her fiance Sam Howard when her life was tragically cut short.

Instead, family members will say goodbye to her at a funeral service in Singleton on Wednesday.

Tributes are pouring in online for the ‘beautiful little man’ who was a member of a local dance group.

“Bec will always be remembered for her kind heart and warm smile, nothing is ever a problem and always ready to help when you need it,” Hunter Urban Dance Studio wrote online.

“Loved and greatly missed by family and friends. Thank you for being a wonderful, beautiful person inside and out. We are privileged to have known you and you touched our lives forever.

The University of Sydney’s St John’s College mentioned that in 2016 they launched a Bachelor of Veterinary Bioscience earlier than moving to Newcastle University for a degree in Medicines.

Tori Cowburn, a skilled soccer player from Singleton, also misplaced her life

Andrew and Leanne Scott of Singleton were killed in the crash

Rector Dr. Mark Schembri said the school was “saddened” by her death and offered condolences to her household and friends.

In a heartbreaking submission on Saturday, her fiance Sam invited family members to attend the Civic Center at 11am on June 28 to ‘celebrate’ her life.

“We ask that you wear floral or bright clothing and bring a special memory or photo that our family can collect and read in the future,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, experienced surfer Kane Simons, 21, from Tasmania, is likely to be commemorated at a ceremony in South Hobart on Sunday, July 2.

The apprentice electrician had moved to Singleton for work, where he met his girlfriend Kyu McBride, who also died in the crash along with her mother, Nadene.

The Carlton Park Surf Life Saving Club said “A Day for Kane” would begin with a paddle ceremony at 10:00, which will be followed by burial at 14:00 in C3 church.

“Meet at the club (ready to paddle – wetsuit, booties, gloves and all kinds of crafts) at 9:45am to join family and friends for a celebratory paddle,” the membership wrote on Facebook.

Darcy Bulman (pictured posing with her partner Nick Dinakis) died in the crash.

Byron Bay man Zachary Bray, the world’s oldest colon cancer survivor, also died in the crash.

“The club will have some extra signs available for those coming from interstate.”

After spending the day at the Wandin Valley estate, the victims were on their way back to Singleton when the bus veered onto its side on Wine Country Drive near the Hunter Freeway.

The wreckage was so grotesque that disaster identification specialists were brought in to help identify the dead.

Although funerals have been delayed, informal memorials and vigils have been held in Singleton, Sydney, Victoria and Tasmania in honor of the victims.

The funeral is expected to be attended by the bride and groom, as well as household members, friends and members of Singleton’s band.

Most colon cancer survivors Zachary Bray of Byron Bay, Melbourne accountant Darcy Bulman and Singleton footballers Tory Cowburn and married couple Andrew and Leanne Scott are yet to have funeral arrangements.

Last week, Ms Edsel and Mr Gaffney released a statement thanking the group for the “outpouring of love and support”.

A fundraiser launched to help the victims raised more than $242,000 within days, with NSW authorities pledging another $100,000.

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