Truckies honoured at Tarcutta

By: Tamara Whitsed

Noelene Watson’s inspiring speech was a highlight of the 2014 Australian Truck Drivers’ Memorial Service at Tarcutta.

Truckies honoured at Tarcutta
Noelene Watson’s emotional story touched everyone who had suffered.

Thirty two names were added to the Australian Truck Drivers’ Memorial wall at Tarcutta on October 25, including 18 people who had died in truck accidents between 1979 and 2014.

The emotional annual memorial service was attended by about 1000 people.

Some families attended the service for the first time. But a few, like Bill and Fay Belling, have attended all 21 services since the wall was constructed in 1994.

Their son John Belling died in a truck accident in 1979.

For the past 20 years the Bellings have given away flowers for people to place on the memorial wall. This year they gave away over 60 bouquets made from flowers from their own garden.

A highlight of the memorial service was the emotional speech by Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chairperson Noelene Watson which touched everyone who had loved and lost a truck driver.

"The scar of losing your loved one is embedded in your heart and it never leaves you," Watson said, explaining the challenges she faced after her husband Don Watson died in 1994.

Her family’s grief was ‘very raw’ when Don’s name was added to the wall at Tarcutta soon after his death.

"The emotions shared that day will never leave me. It was like I was burying my husband a second time. And for that reason, this is the first time that I’ve had the courage to come back here."

Many attending the service could relate to the challenges Watson faced 20 years ago as she helped her children adjust to life without their father.

Read more about Watson’s speech and the 2014 memorial service in the December issue of Owner//Driver Magazine.

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