Melbourne school mourns train crash victims

St Simon the Apostle Catholic school at Rowville in Melbourne's south east is mourning the deaths of student siblings, 6-year-old Chantelle Meredith and her 8-year-old sister Danielle in this week's tragic Kerang train crash.

The girls died with their mother Stephanie, a nurse from Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital, on a train trip home to father and husband Craig, after visiting their grandparents in Balranald, The Age reports.

Those grandparents were expected to return to Balranald from Swan Hill last night, where they have spent the past few days with son Andrew Blake hoping that some miracle would mean their fears would not be realised. But by late yesterday came reluctant acceptance, even as they awaited DNA tests to confirm the worst, The Age says.

"It's only the father, the husband who is left behind, and I think he's just disbelieving and hoping they'll walk through the door," parish priest Fr Martin Dixon told the ABC.

Colleagues of Ms Meredith from the Royal Children's Hospital released a brief statement mourning the loss of their colleague and friend of 10 years. In Balranald, the loss of the daughter of a local family was even keener.

"Stephanie was always very popular with the nurses and the other staff here. This place will miss her very deeply," Beth Harrison, health services manager at Balranald hospital, told The Age.

"She was great nurse, very dedicated to her job and always willing to drop whatever she was doing to help."

Grief travels through Victoria, across Tasman (The Age, 8/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Simon the Apostle Parish, Rowville
St Simon the Apostle Catholic School

8 Jun 2007