Community rallies after bus tragedy

Community rallies for new bus after Shepparton nursing home tragedy


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FUNDRAISING: Mercy Place Shepparton resident Laura Vagg (left) with service manager Angela Marchant.

FUNDRAISING: Mercy Place Shepparton resident Laura Vagg (left) with service manager Angela Marchant.

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A year after a fatal bus accident, a Shepparton nursing home has new bus.

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MORE than a year on from a tragic minibus accident that claimed the life of three aged care residents, a Shepparton nursing home has secured a new bus thanks to the local community.

On June 20, 2017, the group of nine elderly residents from Mercy Place Shepparton, a staff member and two volunteers were returning to the nursing home from a trip to a bakery in the Victoria’s north when a taxi and their minibus collided.

One resident in her 80s who was on the bus died at the scene. Two other passengers, aged 91 and 95, died days later from their injuries.

Following the horrific crash, residents involved in the accident began to work with the team at Mercy Place Shepparton and the local community to raise money for a new resident transport bus with wheelchair access, allowing the remaining residents to get out and about.

The home has rallied together to raise funds by hosting a Bunnings barbecue, high tea, hair shave, pyjama day and a number of other events for residents.

Mercy Place Shepparton’s service manager, Angela Marchant, said the home was “so thankful to our connected community in times like this”.

“While this is a very special outcome for the home, we always remember the residents we lost,” she said.

In May the home set up a memorial garden and planted three trees in memory of the residents lost in the tragic accident. “We’ve been very lucky with the local RSL, who have given us their bus on loan over the last year, they’ve also been one of our generous donors. 

“It’s meant that our residents can stay closely connected with the community,” Ms Marchant added.

Mercy Place resident Laura Vagg survived the accident last year, but was flown to a Melbourne hospital’s intensive care unit having suffered a broken back.

Despite being “a bit wary” after the traumatic experience, Ms Vagg said she was looking forward to the first outing in the new bus.

The home was expecting to receive the new bus at the end of August and residents are planning to return to the Tatura Bakery on their first outing

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