Emotional tribute for father killed on highway

 

AS the sun peeked through the clouds, butterflies danced at the feet of three sisters as they installed a roadside memorial to adored father Geoff Candlin - a sure sign he's still watching over his beloved daughters.

It's ten years to the day since the Gold Coast father tragically died on the Bruce Highway at Julago after his van and the trailer of a B-double truck collided, just five days before his birthday.

Gold Coast father Geoff Candlin was killed in the car crash near Alligator Creek ten years ago.
Gold Coast father Geoff Candlin was killed in the car crash near Alligator Creek ten years ago.

While the pain is clearly still raw for sisters Tianna, Siobhan and Caitlin, they now have a place they can call 'Geoff's spot,' to remember and celebrate the life of a father, brother and friend to so many.

After placing a cross, adorned with photos and items of who he was as a person, tears soon turned to laughter as the family remembered Geoff's life.

The three daughters of Gold Coast father Geoff Candlin, Tianna, Siobhan and Caitlin, erected a roadside memorial on the Bruce Highway at Julago where he was killed ten years ago. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
The three daughters of Gold Coast father Geoff Candlin, Tianna, Siobhan and Caitlin, erected a roadside memorial on the Bruce Highway at Julago where he was killed ten years ago. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

"He would give his last anything to help someone, having the memory of him destroying his phone because a kid was drowning in a pool and he just jumped in," Tianna said.

"It was just the fact his phone was in his back pocket but he got in, he'd help out no matter what.

"Because he was cremated he didn't get a tombstone or anything like that, so for us we've got a spot to come up and we can come here and just be here with him."

Geoff was in North Queensland to fill in at work for someone else.

The three sisters, who were joined by family at the roadside on the anniversary of Geoff's death, are now continuing his legacy by ensuring family remains at the heart of their relationship.

The three daughters of Gold Coast father Geoff Candlin, Tianna, Siobhan and Caitlin, erected a roadside memorial on the Bruce Highway at Julago where he was killed ten years ago. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
The three daughters of Gold Coast father Geoff Candlin, Tianna, Siobhan and Caitlin, erected a roadside memorial on the Bruce Highway at Julago where he was killed ten years ago. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

Family members wrote messages on a cricket bat - a tribute to his love of sport - and took a mouthful of Toohey's New, Geoff's favourite beer, before leaving it at the foot of the cross.

They're hoping the public memorial reminds motorists to slow down, don't drive tired and take care when on the road.

Siobhan Candlin, Geoff Candlin, and Caitlin Candlin.
Siobhan Candlin, Geoff Candlin, and Caitlin Candlin.

An inquest into Geoff's death in 2014 found the driver of the B-double showed significant signs of fatigue, and failed to stop, when he struck and killed the then-42 year old.

It was determined the truck veered left off the roadway, and upon re-entering the road, the rear trailer fishtailed across into incoming lanes.

For David Hitchell, the girls' uncle, he simply remembers Geoff as someone who touched everyone.

The three daughters of Gold Coast father Geoff Candlin, Tianna, Siobhan and Caitlin, erected a roadside memorial on the Bruce Highway at Julago where he was killed ten years ago. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
The three daughters of Gold Coast father Geoff Candlin, Tianna, Siobhan and Caitlin, erected a roadside memorial on the Bruce Highway at Julago where he was killed ten years ago. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

"After he died there was a lot of people who we had no idea who they were, people he met for 5 minutes in town found out and reached out to us," he said

The crash that killed Geoff Candlin near Alligator Creek a decade ago.
The crash that killed Geoff Candlin near Alligator Creek a decade ago.

"He had an impact on everybody, there was nobody he didn't touch.

"He's a testament to his parents, and these girls are a testament to him. Greatness only gets better."

 

matthew.taylor5@news.com.au

Originally published as Emotional tribute for father killed on highway


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