Re­mem­ber­ing road stal­warts

Chance to cel­e­brate, re­flect

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Lach­lan Mcivor lach­[email protected]­ton­

MORE than 500 trucks will con­verge on Gat­ton on the week­end for the 15th Lights on the Hill Me­mo­rial Con­voy week­end.

The con­voy will de­part from With­cott and Wa­col on Satur­day for a day of fes­tiv­i­ties at the Gat­ton Show­grounds and a me­mo­rial ser­vice will fol­low at Lake Apex on Sun­day.

Adrian Smith and his fam­ily know full well the sac­ri­fices driv­ers make on the roads every day to en­sure the coun­try doesn’t grind to a halt.

Now in his late 30s, Mr Smith has been driv­ing for Nolan’s In­ter­state Trans­port for nearly 15 years, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of his fa­ther Bruce, who drove for the com­pany for four decades.

The name of his grand­fa­ther Robert adorns the truck and coach driv­ers’ me­mo­rial wall in Gat­ton.

Adrian, bet­ter known as Tex, has been in­volved in every con­voy since the event’s in­cep­tion.

“Be­ing in it there’s a lot of emo­tion that comes into it,” he said.

“I prob­a­bly know a dozen peo­ple per­son­ally that are up on that wall.

“It’s to show re­spect to your fel­low driv­ers that have fallen on the road or have done their ser­vice on the road and passed by nat­u­ral causes.

“It’s an in­dus­try that gets shot down in many ways and when it comes to the crunch, ev­ery­one ral­lies to­gether.

“The ca­ma­raderie and ev­ery­thing needs to come back to it more to keep the in­dus­try strong.”

Mr Smith cov­ers thou­sands of kilo­me­tres each week in his trusty Ken­worth T409SAR, reg­u­larly driv­ing pro­duce from Gat­ton to Syd­ney be­fore head­ing up to Bris­bane and back again.

“Peo­ple just think it’s only a truck,” he said.

“If that truck doesn’t get to where it’s go­ing, peo­ple don’t get their feed, their food or their clothes.

“Ev­ery­thing turns up on a truck one way or an­other.”

Last year 65 names were added to “The Wall’’ and an­other 35 will be added dur­ing this year’s ser­vice.

Lights on the Hill pres­i­dent Si­mon Hawker said the ser­vice is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to those in the trans­port in­dus­try.

“The Wall is a place where peo­ple can go and think good mem­o­ries, bad mem­o­ries, what­ever,” Mr Hawker said.

“Some­thing like that has to be there for fam­i­lies to sit and re­flect.

“The ser­vice brings all of that to­gether. It can mean clo­sure for a lot of fam­i­lies.

“That their loved ones are on that wall with their mates, that’s a big thing.”

Gates open at the show­grounds at 9am on Satur­day and the me­mo­rial be­gins at 10am on Sun­day at Lake Apex.

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