Brooke a 'beacon': Mourners take oath

Brooke’s mother, Vicki, arrives at the ceremony yesterday.
Brooke’s mother, Vicki, arrives at the ceremony yesterday.

Click or flick across for more pictures (iPhone app users tap the 'Photos' tab).

MORE than 500 people yesterday took an oath not to touch their mobile phones while driving, in response to a request made at the funeral of Corowa P-plate driver Brooke Richardson.

Dressed in her favourite colour orange, family and friends of Miss Richardson and her family packed into the hall at Corowa High School yesterday afternoon.

About 100 people stood at the back of the room, determined not to miss the celebration of her short life.

All wept freely and often.

Miss Richardson, 20, died on Tuesday, December 4, when her car hit a tree near Cobram.

Her mobile phone showed she had been texting moments before the accident.

Miss Richardson’s former teacher Nigel Creamer asked the hall to follow him in pledging not to use a phone while driving ever again.

“Maybe Brooke was chosen to be a beacon of change, to make the road a safer place,” he said.

There were many laughs during the service which remembered Miss Richardson as an individual who was loyal to her friends and family and didn’t care what others thought of her.

Seven of her friends began the service by sharing their memories and poems.

One young man spoke of how Brooke had fallen in love with him in year eight only to fall out of love because his hair was longer than hers.

It was touched upon several times during the ceremony that hairdressing had been her true calling.

Her mother, Vicki, said the hardest thing her daughter faced when leaving school to start an apprenticeship was not socialising with her friends each day.

“But she soon discovered that hairdressing was even more social than school,” she said.

Miss Richardson’s father Mick said his daughter’s wicked sense of humour had shone through before she was born.

On two occasions he had to make the hour-long drive to the hospital with his then-wife Vicki as Brooke threatened to arrive.

Twice they were sent home.

“So as you can see, even before she was born, Brooke was taking the piss out of her mum and me,” he said.

Afterwards he asked those in the room to spread the word about not texting and driving.

“If we only save one life then Brooke didn’t die in vain,” he said.

The Border Mail attended yesterday’s funeral with the permission of the Richardson family.