Tributes flow for young lives cut short in tragedy
SHE was just about to graduate from high school, he was "the future" of tennis in the Far North - Lauren Quabba, 16, and Evan Fielder, 19, were a bright young couple with the world at their feet.
But just a few weeks into their new relationship, their lives were tragically cut short in a horrific fatal crash south of Cairns.
Family and friends have been left devastated with tennis clubs across the region calling off classes in tribute to Mr Fielder who was a popular junior coach throughout Cairns and the Cassowary Coast.
The Babinda community, where Ms Quabba was a Year 12 student, was yesterday in mourning as they remembered the happy "cheerful" young teen who was one of six children.
Ms Quabba's second cousin Jessica Ridolfi said the school and wider Babinda community had been badly rocked by the tragedy.
"You hear about accidents all the time, but never think it will happen to your family," she said. "I've pretty much watched her grow up.
"She was a lovely girl.
"She'd just go up and give everyone hugs and she was always happy and cheerful.
"I think the school will be very hurt today.
"I think she was very close to a lot of the schoolkids there."
Cairns-based tennis coach Guy Thomas choked back tears as he paid tribute to former Tully State High School student Mr Fielder.
"He was the future of tennis," he said. "He had a really bright future ahead of him.
"He was really lovely to everyone. It didn't matter what side of the fence you sat on, he was just a ripper kid."
He said Mr Fielder and his father Wayne, who operates Baseline Tennis Coaching Academy, had just taken over coaching at the Cairns International Tennis Centre.
"It's been terrific what they've been doing and (Evan) was an integral part of it," he said.
"All the kids loved him.
"We've called off training for all the kids that knew him."
FNQ ROAD TOLL
Some 25 people have died on Far North roads this year - six more than this time last year. Police revealed half of those deaths occurred within the past three months. Among the most recent was Ravenshoe man William "Billy" Harris, 18, who was the passenger in a Hyundai i30 when it rolled at the Millstream on October 11.
Vietnam & Veterans Motorcycle Club NQ Chapter president Stewart Pinder, 54, died in a crash just three days later.