Doting father remembered while son fights for life
A WELL-RESPECTED rugby league coach and father of three will leave a huge hole in a South Burnett community after he was killed in a crash north west of Gympie on Saturday.
Andrew Cole, 34, who was travelling on the Burnett Highway at Booubyja, was killed at the scene of a horrific high-speed head-on collision that has left his son, 12-year-old Bailey Cole fighting for life in a Brisbane hospital.
The young rugby league player, who is in intensive care in Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, has multiple fractures including to the skull, a ruptured spleen and substantial lung damage.
The crash has shattered the close-knit Murgon family, leaving wife Melissa Lurton and their children Bailey, 12, Hollee, 9, and Tyson, 4, without their "caring and supportive" husband and father.
Family friend Siobhan Lowe said the loss was devastating for Goomeri-raised Melissa, who was at the point of needing care for huntington's disease.
"She's an incredibly strong woman, she's been through a lot in her life - but she's always been able to keep herself together and a soldier on.
"She's got three young kids, she can't do it on her own."
She said Mr Cole had been a very hands on father coaching the Murgon Mustangs rugby league U14 team that his now critically-injured son plays in.
He was also an admired coach and coordinator at the Currumbin Eagles from 2011-2014 when the family lived at the Gold Coast.
"He was a lovely man, he loved being a dad and doted on them," Mrs Lowe said.
"He was very caring, supportive and involved."
Mrs Lowe has started a gofundme page to support the family and believes the community can help many ways, big or small.
"If people can rally behind them as a community it really will make a huge difference.
"The whole community can share the burden and make a massive difference."
To contribute to the gofundme page, CLICK HERE.