In the solemn twilight of Thursday evening, the Wyndham community came together at Saltwater Reserve in a heartfelt vigil for the five beloved residents who perished in the tragic Daylesford incident last Sunday.
The Sharma-Chugh and Bhatia families, whose lives were cut short, were remembered in a sea of candles and hushed condolences.
Organised by the Wyndham City Council, the vigil started at 7.30 p.m., allowing hundreds from the community to join in solidarity and support each other during this time of profound sorrow. Point Cook’s serene Saltwater Reserve, transformed into a space of shared mourning and reflection.
Pratibha Sharma, her daughter Anvi and husband Jatin Chugh; along with Vivek Bhatia and his son Vihaan, were the Wyndham residents who tragically lost their lives in an event that has left an indelible scar on the community. The families were well-known and cherished in the area, and their absence was palpable in the silence that enveloped the crowd.
Mayor Susan McIntyre stood amongst the mourners, her presence a testament to the community’s unity in the face of tragedy. Cr Sahana Ramesh and local MP Mathew Hilkari also paid their respects, offering words of comfort and vows of support to the bereaved families and all those affected.
Mayor McIntyre expressed to the gathered crowd, her voice steady but filled with emotion.
“The pain we share tonight is the price of love and community,”
Cr Sahana Ramesh said,
“These were our friends, our neighbours, our family. Tonight, we stand together to remember them, not just for how they left us, but for all the cherished moments they gave us.”
Candles and phone lights flickered against the encroaching darkness, each a symbol of the lives lost and the memories that will continue to light the way for those left behind. Personal anecdotes, shared by friends and family, brought tears and painted a picture of the loved ones not as victims of a tragedy but as vibrant individuals whose legacies will endure.
Throughout the evening, community members embraced, offering each other the kind of support that words alone could not convey. The collective grief was a powerful reminder of the fragility of life and the strength of communal bonds.
As night descended fully upon Saltwater Reserve, the lights from the vigil stood out as a beacon of shared humanity — a community united in grief, hope, and resilience. The vigil not only served as a poignant remembrance but also as a bridge to healing for the many who came to find solace in the presence of friends and strangers alike.
Two separate fundraisers have been established to support the families, with overwhelming support from the public.
For now, the Indian Australian community of Wyndham continues to hold the lost in memory, their spirits echoing in the gentle winds and murmurs of a city coming together to find peace amidst loss.
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