Balloons have lined the streets of a small NSW town as the close knit community prepares to say goodbye to a teenage girl killed a tragic car crash.
Hundreds of grieving mourners have gathered to farewell “beloved” and “adored” Lily Van de Putte who was the victim of a horror five-person fatal crash near Sydney last week.
Her untimely and sudden death has left family, friends and an entire community devastated.
Lily, Tyrese Bechard, Summer Williams, Antonio Desisto, and Gabriella McLennan were all killed when the ute they were travelling in hit a tree on East Parade at Buxton on September 6.
They all went to school together at Picton High.
Lily’s emotional funeral was held at Tahmoor’s St Anthony‘s Catholic Church, south west of Sydney, on Friday.
Family members, close friends and Picton High students wept and embraced as they gathered outside the church, before making their inside for the service.
A balloon tribute also lined the streets leading up to the service in a touching display for the teen.
Inflatables in an array of colours were tied to fences and poles ahead of the funeral.
The funeral notice described Lily as a “beloved Daughter to Melanie and John”, a “sassy sister to Britany and Kaleb” and the “baby ‘favourite’ granddaughter”.
She was an “adored and loyal friend to many”.
The service was the second of five ceremonies for the victims after Tyrese’s funeral was held on Thursday.
Tyrese, 16, was remembered as a “cheeky” young man with a “heart of gold”, with hundreds of grieving mourners attending the emotional service at Picton’s HisHouse Church.
Loved ones, members of the community and fellow school students openly wept for the “kind”, “respectful” and “joyful” teen.
Heartbroken parents of the other victims were in attendance and were seen hugging Tyrese’s family members.
Lily’s family laid a flower on Tyrese’s coffin as they paid their respects on Thursday, her father John Van De Putte seen placing a sorrowful hand on the coffin in one particularly heartbreaking scene.
Mr Van De Putte was in hospital under sedation when Lily sent her last text to him, asking the perennial teenage question: “Dad, can I go out?”
When he woke up, he learned his daughter was dead.
Mr Van De Putte said he knew something was wrong when he saw a large number of missed calls.
“I saw her text and thought: ‘There’s no use texting that is there? That’s done and dusted,” he recalled earlier this week.
His son came into the hospital room crying and Mr Van De Putte said he just knew his daughter had died.
Mr Van De Putte said Lily was his “little angel” and his sidekick for many years while he was a stay-at-home dad.
“We’d go everywhere (together) … she was so full of sass,” he said.
He called Lily a “very caring and giving person”, recalling instances of her kindness and generosity.
“I can remember an instance when we just came back from Little Athletics and we were going through the McDonalds drive-through,” Mr Van De Putte said.
“There was a lady there begging for money on the side of the road and (Lily) made us stop and she donated her dinner for the night to her.
“She was a really good athlete. (Once when) she finished a race, she scooted across the track and ran with the ones who were struggling to help them finish.”
The teens had told their parents they were going on a “maccas run” but reportedly drove around for hours. Alarm bells were raised when they didn’t return home.
“That was it. Obviously kids being kids, they lied didn’t they,” Mr Van De Putte said,
The Nissan Navara ute was being driven by Tyrell Edwards, 18, when he allegedly lost control and hit a tree on East Parade in Buxton.
Mr Edwards, the sole survivor, has been charged with five counts of dangerous driving occasioning death.
He was refused bail in Picton Local Court and was remanded in custody.
He will return to court on Monday, where he is expected to apply for bail in the Supreme Court.
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