Hundreds gathered at the Ballina Uniting Church to farewell William ‘Bill’ Manton, who died in a car accident last week.
Hundreds gathered at the Ballina Uniting Church to farewell William ‘Bill’ Manton, who died in a car accident last week. Cathy Adams

Tears flow at Bill’s solemn farewell

THE tears flowed across the faces of many young lives as they farewelled one of their peers, William Manton.

Some chose to hug to console each other as they struggled to come to terms with the loss of Bill, as he was known.

There were few words spoken inside the Ballina Uniting Church yesterday for the funeral of the 20-year-old.

Rather, the farewell was a solemn, traditional Aboriginal ceremony, attended by many of Bill's friends and former Ballina High School students.

William Manton.
William Manton. Contributed

Bill was one of four local youths tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident at Newrybar on September 3.

Some prior parts of the ceremony held to farewell the Ballina youth were too sacred to be publicised.

But the 300 people who attended the funeral service walked through smoke before entering the church.

Nathan Manton, described as Bill's 'special brother', led the casket into the church playing the didgeridoo, while Bill's uncle, Lance Manton, then led the Aboriginal ceremony.

The mourners were invited to view Bill's body, painted in traditional Aboriginal markings, to pay their final respects.

"Thanks for coming. Thanks for your support," said Lance Manton in some of the few words spoken.

Lance Manton then sang the song 'I'll leave this world loving you'. The last part of the traditional ceremony was completed at the site of Bill's final resting place.


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