My name is Justin Sims and I am still in disbelief at the tragic loss of Estelle.
As part of the Sims family, I spent a large part of my childhood growing up with children from the Cullen, Pinkney and Bradley Families. This mainly occurred when we travelled to Auckland for school holiday fun and good times with these families or they visited us at our rural property in Whangarei.
For ‘country boys’ like my Brother Eugene and I, there was always anticipation at visiting the ‘Big Smoke’ and although I did not appreciate it at the time, looking back now the ‘city kids’ were equally enthusiastic about visiting us ‘up North’ feeding animals, getting into outdoor mischief and trips to the beach.
I think I was the oldest and Estelle the youngest (I can even remember her as a small baby!) of us and have very fond memories of these holidays and special times spent together over many years with Estelle and her sisters, Hayley and Melissa – the Cullen family were really good fun to be with as we grew up and the Sims, Cullen, Pinkney and Bradley kids really got on so very well it almost felt like we were related at times.
Although I have not had so much contact with Estelle in recent years, I had an opportunity to catch up with her last year which was a very pleasant surprise.
What was not a surprise to me was to find the positive, successful and wonderful young woman Estelle had matured into in the few years since I had seen her last. I really enjoyed seeing Estelle again and felt proud to know her as a friend, as I am sure most who came into contact with her will have.
I can only imagine the pain and sense of loss that Jocelyn, Lloyd, Melissa, Hayley and the Cullen family and friends must be going through – I am sorry that I am unable to attend the funeral and will be thinking of you all on Wednesday.
The only words that I hope can offer you some comfort is to say that we have all been touched by Estelle, a very special lady - your daughter, sister, friend or colleague. Be proud of Estelle, cherish the special memories you hold and celebrate the much too brief time we had with her in our lives.
With sincerest sympathy
Justin Sims 16 March 2011