Friends of an Irish tradie killed in the M4 crash worked round the clock to finish a car he was working on as a surprise for his heartbroken fiancee.
Francis Shanley’s colleagues from Vaughan Civil in Sydney worked in secret to renovate a Subaru WRX so they could present it to Broc Nicholson at a celebration of their mate’s life on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old’s fiancee was “over the moon” when she was surprised with the car which has custom Frankie plates in honour of her partner.
Francis Shanley, from Bornacoola, Co Leitrim died when his car was hit by a beer truck in a pile-up involving eleven cars on the M4 motorway in Sydney on May 9.
A-53-year-old man has been charged with dangerous driving causing death after police allege he changed lanes and then stopped causing the fatal crash that killed Frankie.
Jamie Morrissey said his mates at Vaughan Civil “worked round the clock for the past nine days” to get the car ready for today’s ceremony at Macquarie Park Cemetery where it was presented to Broc.
“All his close friends came together to work on it –people who knew nothing about cars came to work on it because they wanted to do it for Frankie.
“It was good for us as well –it kept our mind off things.”
Frankie loved to buy cars and fix them up and he was working on the Subaru WRX when he was killed.
The car was “fully stripped” in his work yard with hundreds of parts everywhere so it was no easy feat for his mates to fully restore it in nine days.
“Frankie was an outstanding person. He was a gentleman and that’s why we did it. If it was any one of us, he would be the first person to step in and help so we thought it would be a fitting tribute to Frankie.
“He would do anything for you. Today is a very sad day for Broc but we hope we can bring a smile to her face when we surprise her with the car,” Jamie explained.
Broc Nicholson said Frankie would be “so proud” that his friends had finished the car for her.
She said: “He would be so proud and so am I. I know he’s going to be so jealous when I’m driving it instead of him.”
Family and friends of Francis Shanley who gathered for a special celebration of his life at the Camellia Chapel were told that he lived life with “love, honour, integrity and a sense of humour.
Celebrant Brett O’Brien said: “He was alert and alive. He made people laugh. He had a fearless enthusiasm for life and our world is poorer without him.”
His Australian fiancee Broc paid a beautiful tribute to Frankie.
“You’ve touched our hearts beautiful…You always knew how to make me laugh, listen to my problems, make me feel better when I was sick,” she said.
She poignantly read the vows she had written for their upcoming wedding. The couple were due to get married in August.
“You are my world. You are my rock. You are the reason I am the person I am today.
“I will hold you, honour you, respect you, cherish you and most importantly love you.
“To the most charming, funny, handsome person – I will always love you.”
Frankie’s younger sister Ruth Shanley said his family in Leitrim were heartbroken to lose him but had “beautiful memories” of their time together.
She said: “Frankie always used to look after me – he always had my back.
“He always put a smile on my face with his silly sense of humour and his cheeky smile.”
His close friend Gary Hart was friends with Frankie for over 20 years after meeting in school in Leitrim.
“There was never a dull moment when Frankie was around. Frankie was horrid craic. He’ll be sadly missed in this country and in Ireland,” he said.
Frankie is survived by his fiancee Broc Nicholson, his parents Christine and Basil Shanley and his siblings Mark, Ruth and Catriona Shanley.
He is also mourned by hundreds of people from across the globe who loved him particularly in the communities of Co Leitrim, Western Australia, Darwin, Carmila and Sydney.