Grace and Bruce Thompson were in a car accident which claimed Grace’s life and left Bruce injured.
Grace and Bruce Thompson were in a car accident which claimed Grace’s life and left Bruce injured.

Stanthorpe rocked by road accident

ALWAYS putting others before herself, even in the last few hours of her life, Grace Thompson’s tragic death in Tuesday’s New England Highway car crash has devastated the Stanthorpe community.

Relatives of the 75-year-old said they were told that immediately after the head-on collision, Mrs Thompson, unaware of the severity of her own injuries, immediately rushed to the aid of her husband, before trying to assist passengers in the other vehicle.

Relatives, neighbours and close friends of Mrs Thompson, who were still trying to come to terms with her death, told the Daily News the selfless actions were typical of this “loving and caring person”.

The Mount Tully resident was taken to Stanthorpe Hospital before being airlifted to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with internal injuries. She passed away before landing.

Cecilie Thompson described her sister-in-law as a “real people’s person”.

“There was nothing pushy or showy about her,” she said.

“She was so easy to be with – she would do anything for anyone.”

Mrs Thompson (nee Vanderwolf) was previously a nurse before working hard with her husband Bruce on their land.

A community-minded person, Mrs Thompson helped at Lifeline and, together with her husband, was heavily involved in the Stanthorpe Show Society.

Real estate agent John Boucher grew up close to the Thompsons and described them as “more like family than neighbours”.

He said the Thompsons had a long-standing presence and were probably even pioneers in the area.

“It was a devastating phone call to hear one of our friends, well, we call them our family, had been killed,” Mr Boucher said.

“She will be sadly missed and now we are all just wondering what the future will be for Bruce.

“She was a very committed Christian. I have heard that after the accident, she saw the other car on fire and got the fire extinguisher out of her own car and tried to help. That is the kind of person she was.”

Mr Boucher’s brother Michael echoed his sentiments.

“They were wonderful people – really good country people,” he said.

The reaction in the community was heartfelt and many struggled to comprehend the news.

Ernie Draheim, a distant relative but close family friend, said Mrs Thompson was a “very loving, caring person”.

“She helped everyone she could help. She will be sadly missed,” Mr Draheim said.

Neville Bryant volunteered with the couple for the Riding for Disabled Association (RDA).

“Bruce and Grace were always together. They were very strong in breeding and showing cattle and were involved in anything to do with horses,” Mr Bryant told the Daily News.

“I just can’t get over it. You hear about accidents but I just can’t relate it to Bruce and Grace.”

Southern Downs Regional Councillor Vic Pennisi lives near the Thompsons and expressed his sadness yesterday.

“It’s an absolute tragic, tragic loss and my heart goes to the family and my sincere condolences go to Bruce,” Cr Pennisi said.

“The family should know that we are all here for them. They have the community behind them if needed.”

Mr Thompson is in St Vincent’s Hospital in Toowoomba and at time of print his condition was unknown.



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