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Crash victim mourned by Clarence Valley community

Peter Ashenden
Peter Ashenden Contributed

THE death of a well-known Grafton man in a horrific head-on collision at Port Macquarie has sent shock waves through the Clarence Valley.

As well as being a loving father of two, Peter Ashenden, 43, was the Clarence Valley Council's senior design engineer for more than a decade and was involved in several local clubs, including the Grafton Rowing Club.

His life was tragically cut short on Friday afternoon when a silver Nissan Pathfinder and grey Ford Territory collided on Hastings River Rd in Port Macquarie.

Mr Ashenden, who was driving the Ford Territory at the time, died at the scene.

His wife Rebecca, who was a passenger, was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to Port Macquarie Hospital with a fractured sternum.

It is believed the couple was travelling to a psychic medium show at the time.

Since then, outpourings of grief trickled through social media as word of the tragic crash spread.

Grafton Rowing Club president Michael Collins said it was a shock to all members of the club when they heard the news.

Mr Ashenden joined the club in 2007 as a beginner, and later became an active committee member who was heavily involved in 'learn to row' coaching.

He was also the president of the Grafton High School Rowing Club.

"He was a popular and hard-working member of our team," Mr Collins said.

"He competed in various regattas with crews and single sculls and always encouraged other rowers to participate. He was a great bloke, very friendly and will be sadly missed by all."

The 45-year-old was also heavily involved as a parent in the local junior rugby scene, and coach Gervase Bertus described him as the "perfect family man", as far as supporting his kids in sport.

Clarence Valley general manager Ashley Lindsay wished Peter's family, in particular his wife and children, love and support during this difficult time.

 

"He was a very quiet man, very professional, caring and passionate about his work," Mr Lindsay said.

"He was well respected both within and outside council."

Meanwhile, a Gofundme page has been started for Rebecca, who is recovering in hospital. She is a well-known psychic medium, with more than 2000 followers on her public Facebook page.

"On her way to be of service to the world of spirit she was involved in a terrible head-on car accident," the Gofundme page started by Debbie B-Mews reads.

"As a community of spiritual people we are now called to support one of our own."

So far, close to $4000 of a $50k goal has been raised for Mrs Ashenden and her children.

In the wake of the weekend's horrific toll, Acting Assistant Commissioner David Driver of the Traffic Highway Patrol Command said yesterday that too many lives had been lost on NSW roads.

"Since Friday afternoon, seven more families have lost a loved one, bringing the total number of lives lost in NSW this year to 281," he said.

"For every death on our road there is a family that is forced to deal with the reality that a loved one is not coming home and that their lives are changed forever."

As police investigate the circumstances of the fatal crash in Port Macquarie, officers are appealing for anyone who may have any dash cam footage to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

Topics:  clarence valley council crash victim fatality grafton rowing club



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