Mates lost after designated driver never made it home

NOTHING was more important to Michael Beckett than being a helpful family member and a reliable mate.

The mechanically minded Singleton High graduate rarely turned down a favour for his mates, regularly volunteering to drive them home safely in the ‘‘Beckett Bus’’ after a night out.

SHATTERED: Top, from left to right, Travis Phillips, Charles Simpson, Adam Cooke, Jordie Robinson and Daniel Cooke.

Long-time friend Adam Cooke said Mr Beckett was often the ‘‘designated driver’’ on nights out, and would never leave a mate in the lurch.

‘‘You couldn’t have found a bigger heart in a better person,’’ Mr Cooke said yesterday.

The popular Belford 20-year-old failed to make it home from visiting friends in Singleton Heights on Tuesday, hitting a tree on Bell Road about 9pm. Mr Beckett died at the scene, just minutes from his family home – the second Hunter youth to die on the region’s roads in a week.

Best mate Charles Simpson said his friends were distraught after losing the most dependable person they knew.

‘‘We were all going to put in and buy him a new Honda Civic [for his 21st birthday in November] because he did so much for us,’’ Mr Simpson said.

‘‘He knew everyone ... he was 100per cent about his mates and his family.’’

Mr Beckett’s sister Emma said her brother was constantly tinkering with machinery including his beloved old Honda Civic, regularly fixing anything that broke by ‘‘learning with his hands’’.

‘‘He was the clever Beckett, he was mum’s handyman ... he was a very caring person,’’ she said.

Dozens of floral tributes decorated the crash scene yesterday as a steady stream of heartbroken mourners paid their respects.

‘‘I can’t believe how many people have showed up to [express condolences],’’ Ms Beckett said.

‘‘He was very well loved.’’

Ms Beckett said she believed her brother, the youngest son in a large family, had been surprised by a kangaroo on Bell Road before the fatal accident.

A kangaroo carcass was on the roadside near the accident scene yesterday.

‘‘I don’t believe for a second he was doing anything wrong,’’ Ms Beckett said. ‘‘He wasn’t a hoon or anything ... he loved his car too much for that.’’

Mr Beckett’s tragic death occurred just five days after Glen Oak teenager John Benson was killed after hitting a power pole off Clarence Town Road.

Police are investigating both fatalities and have appealed for anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

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