Death hits school hard

Crash vic­tim was well known in Queen­stown

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By GRANT BRYANT

Sun­day’s death of tal­ented up and com­ing snow­boarder Hamish Ba­gley has rocked Wakatipu High School pupils and staff. Prin­ci­pal Steve Hall said that al­though Hamish was not of­fi­cially named as the vic­tim of a Sun­day evening car crash on the Lindis Pass un­til late on Mon­day, the dev­as­tat­ing news spread quickly amongst Queen­stown’s small, tight-knit com­mu­nity, and even faster through­out the town’s only sec­ondary school. Hamish grad­u­ated year 13 in 2013, and Mr Hall started his ten­ure in the same year, so al­though there was not much ‘‘cross­over’’ time for prin­ci­pal and pupil to bond, the ef­fect of Hamish’s death was starkly ap­par­ent, Mr Hall said. ‘‘On Mon­day we put our Trau­matic In­ci­dent Pro­ce­dure into place, which in­volves giv­ing sup­port, space or time out to those that have been af­fected by Hamish’s death,’’ he said. The pro­ce­dure was still in place on Tues­day, and the mood through­out the school was very sombre. ‘‘Ob­vi­ously many pupils and staff mem­bers knew Hamish very well. This was a very young life that has trag­i­cally ended far too soon.’’ While death was a fact of life, the death of a young per­son with their lives be­fore them could hit their peers par­tic­u­larly hard, and not al­ways in ap­par­ent forms, Mr Hall said. ‘‘In these kind of sit­u­a­tions, which are trig­gered by a death or se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent amongst pupils, staff, fam­ily mem­bers or friends of the school com­mu­nity, its all about cop­ing. ‘‘We are a small, close com­mu­nity, and we were al­ready due to go over and re­fine our pro­ce­dure in these sit­u­a­tions very soon. This was planned be­fore Hamish’s death, but will help us to bet­ter cope with these kind of in­ci­dents as they hap­pen in the fu­ture.’’ A tal­ented snow­boarder from Ar­row­town, 17-year-old Hamish Ba­gley died af­ter the car he was in veered off the road and down a ditch be­fore burst­ing into flames. His death was marked far and wide, from his for­mer school yard to Sochi in Rus­sia, where the New Zealand Win­ter Olympics team is­sued a state­ment say­ing they were ‘‘shocked and sad­dened’’ by the loss. Hamish was a mem­ber of the New Zealand team to the in­au­gu­ral Youth Olympic Win­ter Games in Innsbruck, Aus­tria in 2012 and had been work­ing to­wards qual­i­fy­ing for the Sochi Olympic Games as a mem­ber of the of­fi­cial long-list. Hamish’s fa­ther Roy, speak­ing from Los Angeles Air­port where he was await­ing a re­turn flight to Queen­stown on Mon­day night told the Mir­ror he was numb with the news.

Farewell: Up and com­ing snow­board­ing talent Hamish Ba­gley. Im­age taken from ‘‘R.I.P Hamish Ba­gley’’ Face­book page.

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