24 January, 2021
'Our Hearts Are Broken'
A nation mourns the loss of two local boys taken too soon in New South Wales
AN OUTPOURING of love and support from the community has been “overwhelming and greatly appreciated”, said the father of two Emerald boys tragically killed earlier this month.
Shane, 7, and Sheldon Shorey, 6, were visiting family in Wellington, New South Wales, when they were killed in an alleged hit-and-run.
Joseph Shorey said he had received thousands of messages from the public since the incident, with the majority complete strangers.
“[The messages] have been non-stop,” he said.
“Every 10 minutes I’m getting 10 to 20 messages from strangers and even old school friends from 40 years ago... it’s just amazing who you hear from.
“It’s touched a lot of people’s hearts – and its broken my heart and my kids’ hearts.”
Mr Shorey said his sons, who attended Dennison State School, were “very bright, caring, kind” kids, with infectious cheeky smiles that would light up every room they were in.
“They were always helping people, always wanting to lend a hand and they loved it,” Mr Shorey said.
“They were both very popular… everyone loved them.”
The boys were avid sports fans, particularly when it came to the family’s favourite team, the Cantebury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
“When they were first born, they would get a bulldogs guernsey on,” Mr Shorey said.
“Only one turned rooster, but all the rest are big Bulldog supporters.”
The boys played for the Emerald Eagles Football Club and the Emerald Magpies Cricket Team, where they reportedly excelled – jumping ahead in age groups.
“They would score five or six goals every week… they loved it, and they were very popular amongst the soccer community,” Mr Shorey said.
“I had four kids playing, so I had four ovals to go to, and as I’m walking up and down, I would hear ‘Ah Shorey, you just missed Sheldon score two goals.’.
“He would run up saying ‘Dad Dad, I got 10 goals!’.”
Shane was quickly transferred up an age group to join his older brother in the under 9s team.
“He was too good for his age… he was training under 7s but they had to put him with the under 9s because he was too good and too big for his age group,” Mr Shorey said.
The boys recently joined the local cricket team, where Sheldon was in the beginner side, and Shane the master classes for their age groups.
“They were good sportsmen, very caring and loving towards each other and everyone they met,” Mr Shorey said.
“They were very smiley, happy... little showoffs.
“Sheldon would do a dance, the little cutie, and all the girls just loved him.”
Mr Shorey said the boys were destined for greatness – with both aspiring to help others.
“Shane wanted to be a copper - I said ‘I’ll get you there my boy, I’ll get you there. You put the hard work in and ill get you there’,” he said.
“Sheldon wanted to be a fireman, and I said ‘Don’t worry my boy, I’ll get you there too.’.
“They were always helping other people... they were destined to be what they wanted to be.”
Mr Shorey said the last 10 days were ‘a big nightmare’.
“I’m struggling to believe they’re even gone,” he said.
“When I saw them at the morgue, I just thought, ‘Wake up, stop playing games’, you know?
“It’s broken my heart... and it’s a huge loss for our family... just shattering.”
Two gofundme projects were set up by friends of the family to support funeral costs and the family during the grieving process.
On Tuesday, January 12, the two fundraisers – organised by Mariah Burton and Tarryn Burson – had raised a combined total of over $30,000.
“I’m very shocked with the amount of support... it’s very overwhelming, and it means so much,” Mr Shorey said.
Mr Shorey’s former employer Kestrel Coal has reportedly been encouraging crews in every meeting to donate what they can for the local family.
“I can’t thank them enough for their support,” he said.
“All the crews are aware of it, and they’ve been donating... we’re so grateful and it is very much appreciated.”
The Shorey family have established a memorial table in front of their property at 1 Yvette Court, Emerald, after requests from the public to deliver flowers, cards and teddy bears.
A public memorial will be held for the boys on Sunday, January 31, at the family’s home.
Everyone is welcome to attend, and the family has asked for guests to wear blue and white –
the colours of the boys' favourite footy team, the Bulldogs.