Paul Girling, 47, died when he lost control of his motorcycle on the Gateway Motorway on February 28.
Paul Girling, 47, died when he lost control of his motorcycle on the Gateway Motorway on February 28.

‘My first and last love’: Wife’s tribute for crash victim

"Kind and gentle", but the ultimate workplace prankster - Paul Girling always brought joy to those around him.

But when he left home for a short motorbike ride with friends on February 28, his wife Mandy never imagined it would be the last time she would see the "first and last" love of her life.

Mr Girling, aged 47, and three other riders were headed from Brisbane to Dayboro, about 45km northwest of the city.

In a matter of seconds, however, tragedy struck when Mr Girling accidentally over-accelerated coming through an S-bend and hit a wall on the Gateway Motorway at Deagon.

He died instantly, about 20 minutes after the group had set off from Virginia, in Brisbane's north.

Mrs Girling said the past week had been a whirlwind of emotion, knowing she had lost the most amazing man she'd ever known - her "first and last" love.

"He was a very quiet person, but so kind and gentle," Mrs Girling told The Courier-Mail.

"He'd do anything for anybody. He was so good to me, even up until the night before. 

"We were each other's first loves - first and last."

Paul Girling with his dog Bailey.
Paul Girling with his dog Bailey.

Paul was a relationships manager for Bank of Queensland. He'd been a loyal employee for 21 years, Mandy said.

Around his colleagues, he was a different person - known as the ultimate prankster.

Whether it was gluing his colleague's stationary to their desk, or spraying his cologne around the office to annoy a workmate, Mr Girling loved a laugh. 

But his real joy came from spending time with his family, his dog Bailey, and around his motorbike, his wife said.

He and Mrs Girling would've celebrated 19 years of marriage next month.

"He was reserved and shy, but once you got to know him you couldn't shut him up," Mrs Girling said.

"He was a larrikin at work, he was a larrikin and a prankster."

While Mr and Mrs Girling had no children of their own, the couple was very much looked up to by their niece Jess Spence.

Ms Spence said her uncle was a responsible rider who never rode in bad weather. 

He rarely rode on weekends at all - only to and from work normally, Mrs Girling also said.

"I think I would just like to let everyone know that he was never a silly rider," Ms Spence said.

"He was an amazing man who never missed a family occasion. He was always there for us kids.

"(He was) a handsome, amazing soul."

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

Originally published as 'My first and last love': Wife's moving tribute for crash victim


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