Condolences for a well-known local family are flowing like a flooding river after an interstate tragedy provoked a response from nearly every corner of Australia.
A light plane carrying primary school-aged kids Raphael, 11, Evita, 9, and six-year-old Philomena Smith, and piloted by their grandfather, Peter Nally, crashed near Canberra on Friday, October 6, killing all four.
Parents, David and Elise Smith, requested privacy as they process the loss of their three oldest children and Elise's father.
The tragedy has been felt by hundreds - if not thousands - of people across Tamworth, Armidale, and much of the country as tributes continue to pour in from the many lives touched by the Smith family.
In the wake of the disaster, an online fundraiser was launched by family friend Kristin Boyle, who lives in Geelong.
Ms Boyle, who grew up near Mr Smith and is a childhood friend of his sister, told the Leader she set up a gofundme page to allow friends and family from all across Australia to show their support.
"Our friendship group was discussing amongst ourselves how we could best provide assistance to David and Elise, especially those of us who who don't live locally," she said in a prepared statement.
"Many of us wanted to help financially, as we know there will be significant immediate costs. In addition, the ability to earn an income will be disrupted for many months, as they deal with this trauma and care for their two young boys."
In less than five hours, the gofundme raised more than $20,000. After a day, that amount went above $50,000.
The donations are coming from all over the eastern states, from Queensland down to Victoria, illustrating the wide-ranging impact the Tamworth family has had on hundreds of lives.
"While it may be the most public, this is just one of the many ways people are coming together and showing their love and support for the family," Ms Boyle said.
"No one should ever have to go through anything like this, but if they do, we can at least make sure they never feel alone."
Friends of the Smith family also told the Leader the family plans to pass excess donations on to charity.
Locally, tributes and well-wishes to the Smiths have poured in from multiple sports and religious organisations.
Despite recently moving to Armidale, the Smith family maintains a close connection to their hometown of Tamworth, and their son Raphael was planning to take part in the upcoming North Companions Football Club's youth presentation day.
"Raph played with Northies since he was 5 years of age and this year he played for the first time on the full size field with our U12 Silver Team," the soccer club said in a statement.
"Raph and his family had recently moved to Armidale, though this didn't stop Raph making it to Tamworth to play with his team.
Raph, Evita and Philomena will be dearly missed from our Northies community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Elise and David and their family."
The Tamworth Cycle Club, of which Mr Smith is the former treasurer, also told the Leader they were "absolutely devastated" by the news of the plane crash.
"David, Elise and the family are immensely respected and have had a huge impact among the Tamworth Cycling and Triathlon community and as a club we send our deepest sympathies and sincere love and support to the family," the club said in a statement.
Additionally, the Smith family has a deep connection to the Catholic church, and is much-loved by the religious community.
As such, the Diocese of Armidale also made a statement offering its condolences.
"Our hearts are heavy with grief, and our thoughts, prayers, and unwavering support go out to the Smith family during this incredibly difficult time," the Armidale Diocese's statement read.
"May the souls of those dearly departed rest in peace."
St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney also issued a statement.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to David and Elise Smith and their family as well as the Diocese of Armidale, of whom David is the Diocesan Financial Administrator, as they grieve the loss of their three children and Elise's father over the weekend," the statement read.
The statements were re-published on Facebook, allowing dozens more community members to share their piece.
"No words for this tragedy ... deepest condolences to the family," one user commented.
"Such a terrible tragedy for so many affected by the reach of this lovely family," another said.
"More tears and prayers for the living left behind," another comment read.
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