ONE LAST RIDE
By Peter Caton
TWENTY-three year-old Brian Butters loved riding motorbikes. He even joked they were his ''girlfriends''. But it was a love that cost the well-liked Chillingham larrikin his life.
On Saturday evening Brian died in hospital from injuries received when the bike he was travelling on as a pillion passenger collided with a car outside the Murwillumbah railway station.
Flowers and other tributes now mark the intersection of Prospero St and the Tweed Valley Way where the crash occurred.
They serve as a chilling reminder of the dangers on our roads, especially over the busy Christmas period.
Just this past weekend 10 people were killed in road accidents in New South Wales alone.
Yesterday Brian's father, Brian Snr, and mother Kerry spoke of a son who grew up on their property at Hopkins Creek, Chillingham, learning to ride trail bikes.
A month ago Brian Jnr quit his seasonal, seven-day-a-week job at the Condong sugar mill in favour of labouring jobs such as working bananas so he could spend the weekends trail biking with his mates.
"He had done four years in bananas before he went to shift work at the mill," said Mr Butters.
"But he loved his weekends and spending time with his mates. "I was always asking him when he would get a girlfriend.
"He'd say 'They're over in the shed'."
Brian Jnr was a "dinkum", hard-working Aussie lad, whom his family say not only loved his mates and trail bikes but Holden utes as well.
"You can even throw meat pies in there," his father said.
Brian Jnr, who attended Chillingham Primary School and Wollumbin High and was a keen cricketer and tennis player, would often head off for the weekend, bikes in the back of a ute for a dirt bike event.
"When he didn't have any money for fuel, he'd be in a tinny fishing in the river," said Mr Butters.
His funeral will be held at 10.30am Thursday at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Murwillumbah.His death notice in yesterday's Daily News described him as "a loveable Larrikin, gone for one last ride".
Brian's friend, who was riding the bike at the time of the accident, is expected to be released from hospital this week.