A survivor of the Hunter Valley bus crash, who lost his daughter and wife in the tragedy, has delivered a tearful speech to footy club friends to expose the gap left in his life by their absence.
Graham ‘Banger’ McBride lost his wife, Nadene ‘Nads’ McBride and daughter Kyah, in June, when they were among ten wedding guests killed in a bus crash which also left Mr McBride among the injured in hospital.
All three were heavily involved in the Singleton Roosters Aussie Rules club and this week an emotional Mr McBride attended an awards ceremony, clapping his daughter as she was nominated and accepting a posthumous award for his wife acknowledging her work for the club.
‘I still wait for her to return home from training late for dinner. Each night, just waiting for her to walk in the door, just to have our little chats about footy,’ a teary Mr McBride said.
‘They may not be here in body, but she sure as s**t is here in soul and will forever be party of our footy community.
‘I’m so proud to share that Nads has since been selected as our state ambassador for NSW FLWC,’ he said, before bowing his head and adding, ‘wish you were here’.
He later clapped with his hand still in a brace as daughter Kyah was named with fellow Hunter Valley bus crash victims, Lynan Scott and Tori Cowburn, as Black Diamond Cup women’s football nominees.
Graham ‘Banger’ McBride applauds with a heavily strapped hand as his daughter Kyah McBride is named among three Singleton Roosters players, all crash victims, as nominees for an award
Graham McBride, daughter Kyah (left) and wife Nadene (right) were all heavily involved in the Singleton Roosters Club, as was Kyah’s partner, Kane Symons, who also died in the crash
Mr McBride was attending the 2023 AFL Hunter Central Coast Elliott Davey Medal presentation night where Nadene McBride was posthumously recognised as NSW/ACT’s 2023 AFLW Community Ambassador ‘for her incredible contribution to Australian football at her club and in the Hunter Central Coast region’.
The three family members were all involved in the club, which tragically lost seven players in the bus crash. Kyah was a star player and Nadene her coach.
Though badly injured, Graham McBride was among 25 who survived the accident which occurred after the wedding of Singleton couple Madeleine Edsell and Mitchell Gaffney at Wandin Estate winery.
Also dying in the crash were Ms Cowburn, who was captain of the women’s side the Roosterettes, Ms Scott and young doctor, Bec Mullen, who was due to be married just weeks after the crash.
From the men’s team, Andrew Scott (Lynan Scott’s husband) and Kane Symons (Kyah’s partner) died in the crash.
Four of the Singleton Roosters players who died in the bush crash were (circled, from left to right) Nadene McBride, Tori Cowburn, Bec Mullen and (front, right) Kyah McBride
Ten died in the bus crash when it rolled on Wine Country Drive near the Hunter Expressway off-ramp about 11.30pm on June 11 while ferrying guests from a wedding at Wandin Valley winery
The night recognised the Hunter Singleton Football Club with an inaugural Spirit of AFL award.
Chairperson Kim Sweetnam said ‘our hearts have bled for them, and they have had to stand up through adversity … that none of us could even begin to recognise.
‘We absolutely hang up our hats to these people who were put in a position that nobody ever expected or imagined to be put in. We honour you, we salute you.’
Just four years ago, in 2019, Andrew Scott polled the most votes to take out the prestigious Elliott Davey medal.
This week, Mr Scott and Nadene McBride were remembered in inaugural medals in their names for, respectively, the male and female ‘best on ground’ players hereon awarded at the annual representative senior carnival.
On stage to say thanks for the establishment of the Nadene McBride Memorial medal, Graham McBride also thanked the Singleton club for its depth of support for him and others during what was ‘a s**t time, a s**t show’.
Graham McBride with Alex Tigani at the July funeral for both his ‘girls’, wife Nadene and daughter Kyah, who tragically died in the Hunter Valley bush crash in June
Screen at the awards night acknowledging the nominations of three crash victims, Tori Cowburn, Kyah McBride and Lynan Scott
At the joint funeral of his wife and daughter held in July, Banger McBride said of his own injuries that ‘each step I take on this path of recovery is to honour my girls.
‘Nads and Kyah shared a smile that would light up the room. Nadene was my soulmate … she had so much love to give and gave it to anyone who needed it.
‘Nads and Kyah kicked so many goals in their life, now it’s time to kick goals for Nads and Kyah.’
On Thursday, a NSW Government inquiry into the Hunter Valley bus crash was due to hand down the first of a three-part report recommending bus safety reform, including changes to seatbelt regulations and school bus speed limits.
The driver of the bus which crashed, Brett Button, is facing a slew of charges over the crash, including multiple counts of dangerous driving occasioning death.