Crash victim's gracious gift

GENEROUS GIFT

A YOUNG girl whose life was cut short after a boating accident at Lake Eppalock will donate her organs to give another child hope. 

Courtney Keast, 12, sustained serious head injuries in a two-boat collision on Lake Eppalock on Friday evening. 

She underwent two neuro-surgeries at the Royal Children's Hospital but lost her fight on Sunday night. 

Her family said Courtney "always wanted to help others" and just a week before the incident, she spoke of organ donation. 

Now, her liver, lungs, pancreas and kidneys have been given to two children and her heart valves are working to "give other children hope". 

Courtney is survived by her mother Jodie, father Brad, and little sister Madison, 9 - "sisters of kindred spirits who closely shared love, life and happiness". 

Courtney's close friend Alanna Romeijn and Alanna's family Gillian, Peter, Alanna, Lexie and Mckenzie, remembered their much-loved friend. 

"Courtney will forever be in our family’s heart and thoughts for the rest of our lives," they said. 

"We have so many happy memories of a beautiful happy talented girl who has been taken far too soon – now dancing with the angels."

Alanna shared a personal tribute. 

"I can't remember my life before Courtney, we were so little when we met," she said.

"She's been by my side through thick and thin. There are so many friends who will miss her. I love you so much Courtney."

SHINING STAR REMEMBERED

FRIENDS of a Kyneton girl who lost her life overnight following a two-boat collision at Lake Eppalock say she is "dancing in heaven". 

Courtney Keast, 12, of Kyneton, has been remembered as a talented, vibrant girl who loved to dance and try to moonwalk in her pointe ballet shoes. 

Starz Dance Centre principal Laura Smith said Courtney Keast, 12, bounced into her dance centre several years ago - "a little ballerina in the making". 

"I still remember the first time we met. An adorable little girl with blonde hair, a cheeky smile and dressed in pink arrived at my summer school with her buddies," she said. 

"Since then I have watched (Courtney) grow into an amazing young dancer and performer. 

"So many special moments shared, outstanding achievements gained and fond memories created."

She said Courtney loved all of her classes and never once rolled her eyes or got cross even when I asked to do her solos for the fifth time.

"I will miss watching you try to moonwalk in your pointe shoes with the other girls," Ms Smith said. 

"I would put on my strict teacher face and remind you to focus, but deep down I was having a good giggle and wishing I could join in the fun.

"I will think about you at every class and I hope you know just how proud I am of you. Precious girl, you will be dearly missed."

Anyone wanting to help the family can contact Lu Thomas on luthomas@bigpond.com

COMMUNITY MOURNS

THE Kyneton community is mourning 12-year-old Courtney Keast. 

Courtney had just graduated from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish Primary School and would have started high school at Kyneton's Sacred Heart College this year. 

Our Lady of the Rosary Parish Primary School principal Jenny May paid tribute to the "beautiful, vibrant young lady loved by both staff and students". 

She said as school captain, Courtney was caring, empathetic and compassionate. 

"This made her a wonderful leader, one who was held in high regard and respected by her peers and younger students," Ms May said. 

"Her love of life, sense of humour and beautiful smile will always be fondly remembered by all in our school community."

Courtney is survived by her mother Jodie, father Brad, and little sister Madison, 9.

"Courtney was a loving sister to Madi; sisters of kindred spirits who closely shared love, life and happiness," Ms May said. 

"Courtney's mother Jodie is a loved and respected member of the staff at Our Lady of the Rosary, her friends and colleagues are devastated by Courtney's death and have surrounded her with much love and many prayers during this difficult time."

Macedon Ranges mayor Roger Jukes saying it was "just devastating". 

"Certainly the whole community are mourning the tragic loss and I send my sincerest condolences to her family and friends," Mayor Jukes said. 

"It's a parents worst nightmare to loss a child. 

"We will help the family in any way we can and offer any assistance at this time."

*Water police continue to investigate the incident and have seized both boats involved in the collision.

The operators of both boats, a 45-year-old man from Doreen and a 46-year-old man from Kyneton have been interviewed.

No one has been charged at this time.

EARLIER: A YOUNG girl involved in a Lake Eppalock boat crash has died.

Courtney Keast, 12, sustained serious head injuries in Friday night’s incident and was airlifted to the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Police confirmed she passed away on Sunday night and said officers continued to investigate the incident.

A number of campers said they witnessed a boat driving erratically shortly before the two-boat crash.

A man in his 40s and a 15-year-old boy, who were on the same boat as Courtney, were both treated with bumps to the head and taken to Bendigo Health.

Police seized a boat on Saturday that was believed to have been involved in the collision. 

A 45-year-old Doreen man was arrested and interviewed.

He has been released pending further enquiries.

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