How a family honoured mum’s dying dream

The little girl lost on a bus was about to lose so much more.

Ipswich First told the heart-warming tale in August last year, of Samantha Gill only nine years old at the time, who hopped on the wrong bus to school.

Bus driver, John Sargeant, called for the right bus, diverted and waited with an upset Samantha until the correct bus arrived.

Things took a tragic turn for Samantha when her mother passed away a couple of months later.

In November last year, Samantha Gill and her family were busy preparing for her 10th birthday party.

Her grandmother, Kim Douglass and mother, Andrea Gill had been up late the night before packing party bags, making a piñata and decorating Samantha’s cake.

Samantha woke on the day of her party, went downstairs and kissed her mother good morning.

A few hours later her mother, Andrea, passed away after suffering a seizure.

The ripples of the enormous loss for the family are still being felt, but Andrea’s family have been working to ensure tragedy is turned into triumph by realising Andrea’s dream of being a published author.

“Andrea was very creative,” Ms Douglass said.

“She wrote stories and blogs and always wanted to do a children’s book.

“She wrote The Wary Scary Magic Tree and Me and self-published it online.

“She planned to rewrite it and try to get it into print.”

When Andrea’s father, Dennis Johnston, found the book on her computer he decided he would do everything he could to get it published to honour his daughter. 

“Sammy has helped with the proof reading and we have all had a hand in it in some way,” Ms Douglass said.

“When the printed book arrived in my hands I just burst into tears, she would have been so proud.”

Samantha is in grade five at Redbank State School so the first place the family wanted to put the book was in the school’s library.

“Samantha’s dad, Travis Gill, went to school straight from work to see her read it to her class,” Ms Douglass said.

As she sat before her supportive class mates and teachers Samantha started reading, Travis let Andrea’s words wash over him.

Watching his daughter read from the hard copy made him forget his distress briefly.

“He said ‘just for a moment all was good with the world’,” Ms Douglass said.

The Wary Scary Magic Tree and Me is currently available as a kindle and ebook through Apple Books and Google Play. 


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