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Crash brings tragic end to bright young life

Russell, Curtsie, Terri, Ophelia and Elizabeth Silcox pose for a family portrait earlier this year.
Russell, Curtsie, Terri, Ophelia and Elizabeth Silcox pose for a family portrait earlier this year. Contributed

OPHELIA Silcox was known as "Possum" because of her large, innocent eyes.

The 14-year-old Gundiah girl was loud, outgoing and always made people laugh.

She grew up on the family farm, rode horses her whole life and won a stash of trophies competing in local equestrian events.

Just days ago, the teenager joked with her mum about winning the lottery.

"We'll go away; we'll go for a holiday," Terri Silcox told her youngest daughter.

"You can have $10,000 spending money and I'll have $10,000 spending money."

Ophelia's reply was: "I want to go to Africa. I want to live in Africa."

Today, Ophelia's grieving parents are struggling to make sense of the tragic car crash that claimed the life of their beloved daughter.

Ophelia's 15-year-old sister, Curtsie, was at the wheel of their parents' work ute when it slid out on a dirt road and crashed into a tree at Paterson, south-west of Tiaro, just after noon on Wednesday.

Curtsie suffered minor injuries, including a bump on the head and a deep cut on her hand that needed stitches.

But yesterday all that mattered was how much she missed her little sister.

"She was the funniest person, she made everyone laugh," Curtsie said.

"She'd just say the stupidest things, but they would always be funny."

The family, including dad Russell and the girls' older sister Elizabeth, 18, bravely chose to speak publicly yesterday about Ophelia's untimely death.

Mum Terri said the two younger teens, who were home-schooled, had been at home together on Wednesday when they decided to take the car for an ill-fated joyride.

"Ophelia was a bit headstrong, very much a non-conformist," Terri said.

"She was very opinionated."

Ophelia attended Gundiah and Tinana state schools.

She completed Year 8 and part of Year 9 at Aldridge State High School, then briefly attended Maryborough High before her parents took her out of school in August.

Students at both high schools yesterday wore black socks in honour of "rebellious" Ophelia, who often wore black socks to school even though she wasn't allowed.

Aldridge High deputy principal Jackson Dodd said all students would be offered counselling in the wake of Ophelia's death.

He praised the decision to wear black socks as a mark of respect and remembrance.

"This is a mature response by our student body to a tragic event," he said.

"The accident is a tragic event and a wake-up call to young people about the dangers of motor vehicles and the preciousness of life."

The Tiaro Pony Club, where Ophelia was a member for three years, has remembered her as a gutsy young rider.

"Nothing fazed her, she'd give anything a go," said a representative, who did not want to be named.

"She used to tear around on her horse.

"She always had a cheeky grin, a cheeky smile."

She said Curtsie and Ophelia were fiercely competitive when it came to showjumping.

"It's tragic, absolutely tragic. Everyone is finding it hard to come to terms with."

Thousands have taken to social media sites to share their grief over Ophelia's death.

Even Curtsie had posted on Facebook yesterday, saying: "I just miss my little sister so much. I love you Ophelia. R.I.P."

To leave a tribute to Ophelia or a message for her family, go to the "R.I.P Ophelia Silcox" page on Facebook.

Topics:  crash, fatal, gundiah, miva, ophelia silcox, police, teenager, tiaro



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