EXCLUSIVE

Bridget Wright

Game for anything: Bridget Wright, 8, who was killed by a falling branch at her school. Photo: Supplied

School assemblies were held under the gum tree from which a branch dropped, killing an eight-year-old girl.

But when it was windy, safety cones would be placed around the trunk and assemblies held elsewhere, claims a source close to the Pitt Town school where Bridget Wright died just over a week ago.

But her father has spoken for the first time, saying that he is blaming nobody.

James Wright, Bridget's dad looks on as the community release the balloons in memory of his little girl.

James Wright, Bridget's dad, looks on as the community release the balloons in memory of his little girl. Photo: Kylie Pitt

James Wright also revealed he had a large section of the tree, from which a likeness of Bridget's face would be carved.

The source, who did not want to be named, said the tree had been a problem for years and that people had tried frequently to have it removed.

For three years, every time there's an assembly if it's windy they don't have the assembly underneath the tree, the source said.

Every time it is windy they put cones out to make the children walk around the area where the tree is. It just so happened on this day there was no wind. 

So for three years people have known there was a problem and for three years nothing has been done about it.’’

On Saturday, a Department of Education spokesman said that assemblies had not been held under the tree that was involved in the accident.

"Assemblies were held elsewhere in the playground near another tree," he said.

The education department has ordered all schools to conduct an audit of trees on their grounds.

Mr Wright declined to comment on the allegations but spoke of a fun-loving daughter who lived life to the full. She tried rock climbing,  water skiing, snow skiing, soccer and taekwondo.

"Whatever she could do, we made sure that she gave it a go," he said. She wasn't academic, she wasn't the smartest eight-year-old running around but what she lacked in the smart she made up for in the try and the will. Her best attribute was that she was a master at taekwondo. I am a black belt and she put me to shame with what she could do. She had her ninja black belt at six and she was one belt off starting to get her junior black belt," he said.

"She had a sheet on the fridge where she put down her goals. Every one she set she managed by the date she had set it."

That piece of paper is still on the fridge.

"Friends and family, that's what gets you through this shit," he said.

"The only time it doesn't get you through is when you are lying in bed first thing in the morning because she always woke me up and gave me a cuddle every morning before I got up and went to work."

Of his wife, Alaina, he said, "Like any distraught mum who is coping she has her moments, obviously.  Nobody knows how you are supposed to handle this stuff. When it's an eight-year-old girl, people don't know how to feel.It doesn't seem real. It seems like any moment I am going to wake up and this is all going to be a dream. I haven’t broken down yet. At some point I am going to break down, I'm going to go to a big puddle on the floor and that's when it is really going to hit home. But it just seems like she is going to be waking me up tomorrow morning.

He said Bridget's sister Abigail, 9, had friends around her. "She knows her sister has gone. I don't know if she knows it's forever.

"I'm not angry. We don't know who to be angry at. One thing you are taught in taekwondo is you don't do anything in anger."