Crossing to honour mate
HE was just seven years old when he witnessed school friend Billy Day struck by a car and killed crossing Wood Street.
Yesterday, Paul Duggan was relieved when the St Mary’s underpass was officially opened and named after his school mate.
“It’s nice to see it finally finished – kids’ safety is the main thing. It will be a big benefit to the school,” Mr Duggan said.
“I really hope everyone appreciates what we’ve got – it was 1973 when I saw the little boy get killed ... we were walking home from school at the time.
“A car was parked along Wood Street and Billy must have stepped out and didn’t see another car coming.
“This incident was my driving force to get something done.”
During his address to dignitaries at the official opening yesterday, St Mary’s principal John O’Connor spoke of the impact Billy’s death had had on the community.
“Those classmates of Billy now have children of their own and are relieved they are now safe,” Mr O’Connor said.
He also spoke about the 2006 tragedy in Redcliffe where 13-year-old Caitlin Hanrick was struck and killed at their similar split-campus crossing.
“I spoke with Redcliffe State High School principal Shona McKinlay soon after it happened and I discovered she had witnessed Caitlin’s death,” Mr O’Connor said.
“I’ll never forget her closing words to me – ‘Whatever you can do to prevent your community suffering like we did, do it’.”
He then watched as St Mary’s school captains Andrew Ryan and Sophie Grayson presented a plaque for Billy Day to Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace.
“It may have taken over 37 years, but hopefully this underpass will prevent another tragedy like Billy’s and Caitlin’s,” Mr O’Connor concluded.