Candlelight vigil for Thomas Coyne at Toowoomba bridge


thomas coyne
Thomas and Jo Coyne. Images: Jo Coyne and Cr Megan O'Hara Sullivan Facebook

Friends, former schoolmates and fellow activists as well as members of the Greens and the LGBTIQ+ communities gathered in Toowoomba tonight for a candlelight vigil and bridge lighting in honour of Thomas Coyne. Thomas’ mum Jo spoke movingly of her love for her son and of the great support he was to her in life.

Thomas Coyne died in a car accident late Sunday 11 April.

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The site chosen for tonight’s vigil held special significance for friends of Thomas Coyne. Locals gathered there in 2016 to celebrate the illumination of Victoria Bridge in Rainbow Pride colours for IDAHOBIT Day.

Cr Megan O’Hara Sullivan said Thomas Coyne asked the council to illuminate the bridge. It was one of the first requests she received as an elected official. The councillor said she received an official complaint about the bridge lighting. However, people also contacted her to relate how much the council’s action meant to them. Again at the instigation of Thomas Coyne, the council lit the bridge up for a candlelight vigil following the Orlando massacre.

Cr O’Hara Sullivan summed up the feelings of many locals for the accomplishments of Thomas Coyne in the local community.

“Thomas was an activist in every sense of the word; political, human rights, environment, and so much more…

“Thank you for your activism Thomas, you’ve left your mark in your 21 short years here.”

Toowoomba Council again arranged illumination of the bridge tonight, this time in honour of Thomas Coyne.  The local landmark flashed the colours of the Rainbow Pride flag during the vigil.

Candlelight vigil and bridge lighting 21.04.2021

Image: Trevor Manteufel

Speakers at tonight’s rally spoke of the dedication Thomas Coyne brought to his activism as an advocate for same-sex marriage, social justice and as a member of the Greens.

The Greens recently set up The Thomas Coyne Fund to help support his family through this tragedy. Thomas was his mother’s carer, but also as she said at tonight’s vigil, her ‘best friend and her whole world’.

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