Special girl's life of love and music
By CRAIG McTEAR
WHITNEY Welsh couldn't have wished for more watching her favourite band from the front row at their Coffs Harbour concert last Thursday.
It got even better for the Brierfield 17-year-old when Silverchair's lead singer, Daniel Johns, looked straight at her.
"She was so little she had to be rescued from the front row because she was getting squashed," her mother, Faye, said.
But the exhilaration she shared with her loved ones turned to disaster the following night when Whitney died after a schoolbus smash on Urunga's South Arm Road.
"We're all in total shock at the moment," Faye said.
"She was only very small, a petite little thing, but she filled a big space, and she's going to leave a big space.
"She just seemed to be able to make a difference to everyone who knew her. She was a very special girl."
Whitney, a year 12 Toormina High School student, was popular and was a good pupil, and her friends meant the world to her.
"Many of them have been sharing with me this week how beautiful she was. She was always happy and was always smiling," Faye said.
"She was going to take a year off next year and then go to Newcastle University to study architecture."
She loved her family, her music and her mates, and was very much in love with her boyfriend of two years, Matt.
Whitney was even lucky enough to see her other favourite band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, in Brisbane earlier this year.
Jazz dancing, guitar, school musicals, the beach, and horseriding with her mum were some of the other pursuits which made her happy.
"For her to die so young is such a tragedy, but she did fit a lot into her short life," Faye said.
Whitney was born in Macksville and grew up on the family farm near Bowraville.
When she turned 12 and began attending Toormina High, the family moved to Brierfield.
She is survived by her mum, Faye, her dad, Frank, and her elder brother, Travis, 35.
She lost her other brother, Cain, in a road accident 10 years ago. He was 23.
Her year 12 schoolmates are planning special tributes to her at their assembly at the end of the month, and in their yearbook.
Whitney's funeral will be held at 10am on Saturday at Coffs Harbour's Hogbin Drive chapel.