A funeral service was held on Friday last week at Kincumber on the NSW Central Coast, for 1989 Cowper Bus Crash survivor, Angela Ormesher, 75.
Angela and her husband Colin survived the crash, but lost both their children Gavin 19, and Janine 18, along with Gavin’s fiancée Vicki-Lee McGrath 19, in that horrific accident which claimed 21 lives.
Colin Ormesher’s brother Leslie 46, and wife Nadine 43, and their son Martin 15, were also killed.
Colin Ormesher passed away four years after the accident; it is said, due to a broken heart.
For years I had heard about this amazing elderly woman, who despite having experienced so much personal loss and tragedy, had continued to be a pillar of strength and support to others whose lives had been severely impacted, by the trauma of this tragedy.
Former Grafton doctor, Ray Jones, was one of those who kept in contact with Mrs Ormesher over the years.
“He (Dr Jones) saved my life,” said Mrs Ormesher, during an interview at the 2014 memorial service, at Cowper.
“He put me in a helicopter – but I don’t remember that,”
“I was very close to death – I’ve got holes all over me, my ribs were broken – I’m a living miracle,” she said.
Mrs Ormesher came across as a humble woman with an amazing inner strength. There was a presence of peace surrounding her.
I asked her how she continued on in life, after suffering such great personal loss and tragedy.
“My faith is the thing that has helped me,” she said.
After the memorial service ended that day, I noticed Mrs Ormesher walking towards a young woman, around 30 years old, who was extremely upset and sobbing.
It was Kellie Radenback, of Melbourne, the daughter of the truck driver involved in that fatal crash, after his semi-trailer veered onto the wrong side of the road, killing 21 people.
Mrs Ormesher touched her tear covered face with her hand, before embracing her.
“It’s not your fault,” said Mrs Ormesher.
“It may not even have been your fathers fault.
“No one knows. Don’t blame yourself,” Mrs Ormesher said, as she tried to comfort the young woman.
The compassion shown towards that young woman, by Angela Ormesher on that day, moved all who witnessed it.
It was a very humbling experience and is a moment I will never forget.
Rest in peace, Angela Ormesher.