THE Collie community has come together in support of the family of 21-year-old Natalie Cartledge, who was killed in a car crash on Saturday morning.
Family friend, Robyn Smith has set up an online fundraising campaign through the GoFundMe website to help cover the cost of Natalie’s memorial, and to support the family during this difficult time.
“Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a loved one,” she said.
“At a time when the most basic tasks become difficult, funeral or memorial expenses can be a huge weight for grieving families.
“This is why I have set this fundraiser up; to help out, my dear friends, the Cartledge Family, I know so many people want to show their support for The Cartledges at this truly tragic time in their lives, but find it difficult to know what to say or do.
“As well as allowing the South West to show their support by donating funds, the GoFundMe page, for Natalie, allows people to send their condolence messages to the Cartledge family – with the option to remain anonymous if they do so choose.
“The Cartledge Family would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all.
“They are overwhelmed by the support and the way Collie and the South West have banded together.
“They would like to say that this has been a tragic accident and they lay no blame.
“Their hearts go out to the other boys and their families involved.
“Having been in a similar situation to the Cartledge’s in the past, I realise the potential a community has in supporting a family in time of loss.”
Ms Smith said the response to the funding campaign has been overwhelming and people have also sent messages to the family along with their donations.
“I am thrilled with the response and no words can describe my appreciation to those who have donated,” she said.
“All I can say is thank you, sincerely from the bottom of my heart for your support and kind words for my much loved friends.”
The Collie and South West have managed to raise over $6,000 in a 24-hour period through the GoFundMe account.
People wishing to donate to the fund and send their personal messages to the Cartledge’s, can go to www.gofundme.com/ur92c4 ‘In Memory of Natalie Cartledge’ and simply donate an amount of their choice in a few simple steps using their Visa, Debit or Mastercard.
If people have other means of helping the Cartledge family – non financial, they can also visit the page where they can contact Robyn Smith directly.
Collie Police Senior Sergeant Mike Dean said it was touching to see how the town had rallied around the family during such a tragedy.
“I don’t know another town that would come together the way it has,” he said.
“People have been so supportive of the family.
“The way the people of Collie support each other is something that it not recognised as often as it should.
“We should also acknowledge the council workers, fire brigade, St Johns and the Police who attended the scene.
“They were out for about 12 hours in some of the worst weather of the year, doing a difficult job.”
WARNING: CRASH PHOTO BELOW
Police say Natalie Cartledge was one of three passengers in a Ford Falcon sedan which was being driven along Mungalup Road, about 5km out of Collie, when it crashed.
It's believed the car veered off the road and hit a tree then a tree stump before becoming airborne and landing on its roof.
Ms Cartledge was trapped in the car when it burst into flames.
The 23-year-old driver from Collie was treated for minor injuries at Collie Hospital.
Police charged him with dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and drink driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 and will face Collie Court on June 10.