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Tragic road accident victims farewelled

Dylan Walters speaks at the funeral for his older brother Rhys Walters and Rhys Simlesa.

A DARWIN boy has read an emotional tribute to his big brother who was one of two teenagers farewelled at St Mary’s Cathedral.

More than 400 grieving schoolmates, friends and relatives gathered for the joint funeral of Rhys Simlesa and Rhys Walters, both 15, whose light blue coffins were carried into the church and sat before their families, topped with flowers and photographs on Friday.

Dylan Walters read aloud a poem that he wrote to his older brother.

“You’re still here in my heart and mind, still making me laugh, cause your story lives on,” he said.

“I need to love and miss you, but I also need to live.

Rhys Simlesa and Rhys Walters

“Because through me you will live; you will still laugh and love.”

Family friend Charity McAleer read a poem for Rhys Simlesa, which began “a mother’s soul she would trade, to turn back time.”

“For a mum and a dad facing what none of us should, we’d take it all back if only we could,” Ms McAleer read.

“We’ll watch out for your family as much as we can.

“The hardest goodbye is to you Rhys ‘the man’.”

Rhys Simlesa’s cousin Joel Ross told the mourners he lived with passion, was true to himself and refused to cut his “flowing mane of long curly hair”.

He was described as his parents’ “golden boy”, who left behind two older brothers and a “beautiful girlfriend”.

“Our hearts are so broken,” Mr Ross said.

Father Roy O’Neill said: “In a situation like this there is little that can be done that makes sense in any human way.”

Mourners embrace outside the service.

“We need to draw on our own beliefs, whatever they are, to find the strength to acknowledge these two lives taken too soon and ways to support their families.

“What’s important is how we treat each other when we see people in need.

“It’s clear these young men reached out often to help other people.”

Darwin High School and Darwin Middle School students and staff were given the option to attend the service.

The pews were packed and some people stood outside the cathedral.

The two coffins were taken away in one hearse and a wake was held at the Darwin Trailer Boat Club. The boys were killed early last Saturday morning in a tragic accident on the Stuart Highway, after attending a 16th birthday party at Bees Creek.

The driver of the vehicle that struck the pair was a sober 17-year-old P-plater who police believe was not at fault.