Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 09/03/2002, pg. 3

WHEN Vanessa Hughes looks into the eyes of her baby daughter Cerys, she sees a strong resemblance to her husband Allen.

Sadly, Cerys will never see her father, who was killed in a plane crash in Toowoomba on November 27 last year which claimed the lives of the pilot and three members of the Community Mental Health Team.

Those killed in the crash were mental health team members Dr Alan Duckett, Dr Allen Hughes and Katharine Thompson, and pilot Bruce Johnson.

As she cradles her baby, Mrs Hughes holds back tears of joy tinged with grief.

“She’s the best gift he has ever given me. I’m so grateful. I feel really blessed,” she said.

“She has Allen’s eyes and it’s really uncanny that when I talk to her I’m talking to Allen.”

Vanessa and Allen married in March 2000 and shared only one wedding anniversary before they were parted.

Mrs Hughes, a theatre nurse, met her future husband, a consultant psychiatrist, when the two worked at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. They settled in Toowoomba to raise their future family.

“We came up here and fell in love with the place and fell in love with the people,” she said.

The couple were ecstatic when they discovered they would have a daughter.

“We both cried. Allen was really proud that he would have a daughter,” she said.

“When Allen was alive we decided on Cerys Mary Joy Hughes but after the death I liked the idea of giving her Allen’s name. So she’s Cerys Mary Joy Allen Hughes.”

Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators have not yet determined the cause of the crash.

Bruce Johnson’s wife Megan, who was also pregnant at the time of the crash, is due to have the couple’s second child in June.

Copyright 2002 / Courier Mail