Keri McInerney is supporting the Chronicle’s Drive to Stay Alive campaign.
Keri McInerney is supporting the Chronicle’s Drive to Stay Alive campaign. Karleila Thomsen

Last song that never happened

THEIR last chat is now lodged forever in her mind.

She had rung him up to say hello and they laughed with each other as the old times, when she worked for him at the Royal Hotel in the 1990s, lit up the discussion.

He asked her to come and perform at his new restaurant in the near future and they made plans to catch up on the following Monday.

George Kotis never got to Monday and renowned Hervey Bay singer Keri McInerney will never perform in front of her old friend at the WetSide restaurant.

The popular Bay restaurateur was killed in a smash on the Bruce Highway outside Maryborough on Saturday, October 2.

A poignant Keri this week recalled her last words to her longtime friend.

“Take it easy, George. Look after yourself”.

He had told her about the build-up to the opening of the restaurant, how excited he was and how exhausted he was after weeks of preparation.

“I admired the guy for his tenacity in business and he always had the time to chat,” she said.

In her own life Keri has been involved in two horrific car crashes, both when she was a teenager, and she thinks herself lucky to be alive.

She was 16 when the first accident happened. Her family was driving through Inverell when their car fishtailed on a hill.

“I don't know how we survived,” Keri said.

A little more than a year after that first accident the family had another on their way to Sydney.

Keri's father swerved to miss a kangaroo and lost control.

The car rolled and Keri had her nine-month-old sister, unrestrained, sitting in her lap.

“I heard a voice that said ‘Hold her' just as the accident happened,” Keri said.

Her mother was also lying down in the back, unrestrained.

Again, everyone survived.

Keri, who is robustly supporting the Chronicle's Drive 2 Stay Alive campaign, said the two accidents had made her much more aware while driving.

“I'm definitely a lot more careful.”



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