South Otago mourns loss of young peo­ple

Clutha Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MARY-JO TO­HILL AND HAMISH MCNEILLY

A sad week in the Clutha district cul­mi­nates to­day in the fu­neral of Corie-Anne El­iz­a­beth Solomon, killed in a car crash on Saturday.

The South Otago Town and Coun­try Club part-time em­ployee’s life is be­ing cel­e­brated at her place of work, in a spe­cial ser­vice at the Bal­clutha-based es­tab­lish­ment in Yar­mouth St, at 1.30pm.

Corie-Anne was killed and three others were in­jured in a crash between a car and a truck between Mil­ton and Wai­hola, on State High­way 1, about 3.20pm on Saturday.

A 3-year-old child was in her car, and was taken to hospi­tal by he­li­copter with mod­er­ate in­juries. The ac­ci­dent closed the road for six hours. In lieu of flow­ers, Corie-Anne’s fam­ily said in her death no­tice that do­na­tions to the West­pac Res­cue He­li­copter Trust would be ap­pre­ci­ated and may be left at her ser­vice.

In her death no­tice, her griev­ing fam­ily also said she would be ’’loved al­ways, never for­got­ten’’.

They said she lit up the room when she en­tered. ’’No longer in our lives to share, but in our hearts, you’ll al­ways be there.’’

They de­clined to talk about her, but others paid trib­ute to the 21-year-old Clutha Guards march­ing mem­ber with an ’’in­fec­tious smile’’ and ‘‘a bub­bly na­ture’’.

Her so­cia­ble na­ture was re­flected in her com­ments when she en­tered the South Otago A and P Show Queen in 2013, and told The South­land Times that she liked pub­lic speak­ing and en­joyed the op­por­tu­nity to ‘‘hang out with the other con­tes­tants’’.

On Mon­day, South Otago farewelled two more of its young peo­ple, Thomas John Evans, 30, and Jenna Frances Craig, 26. Their deaths in a mi­cro­light plane crash on April 2 also left Bal­clutha in a state of mourn­ing.

A cou­ple with strong ru­ral ties, their coffins ar­rived at their fu­neral on the back of a truck.

Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cado­gan said in a close-knit com­mu­nity, such as South Otago, the deaths af­fected ev­ery­one.

‘‘In a small com­mu­nity like ours, this se­ries of tragedies would have touched the hearts of ev­ery­one. It shows how pre­cious fam­ily is and our thoughts are with the fam­i­lies in­volved.’’

‘‘There will not be a day that goes by that I won't miss that in­fec­tious laugh of yours and that bub­bly smile.’’

FACE­BOOK

Corie-Anne Solomon of Bal­clutha will be re­mem­bered by fam­ily and friends.

MARY-JO TO­HILL

The vin­tage truck that car­ried Thomas and Jenna to their fu­neral.

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