In a touching and deeply personal letter, South Australia’s Commissioner of Police, Grant Stevens, along with his wife Emma, has shared their profound grief and personal journey following the tragic loss of their youngest son, Charlie.
The heart-wrenching letter which was posted to the South Australian Police page on Facebook paints a vivid picture of Charlie’s vibrant life and the love he brought to his family and friends. It’s already been shared widely around the South Australian community with people sharing their outward support for the family.
The commissioner’s letter shared that Charlie was not just a son; he was the kid who looked out for others, befriended the lonely, and lent a helping hand to those in need.
The letter reads as the following:
“I am writing this sitting in a bedroom with dirty clothes on the floor, an unmade bed, six dinking glasses lined up on the bedside table, an empty KFC box next to the glasses, wardrobe doors left open and a row of skateboards leaning on the wall – it is a mess and it is perfect. This is where 101 lived.
101 arrived on the 28th of April 2005 and changed our Iives forever. The last of five – he was different. Cheeky, intense and funny – a loveable ratbag from the moment he could talk. He was as frustrating as hell but he was also the kid who would look after others, befriend the lonely, and help those who were struggling.
Intensity shone through as 101 committed to each new passion – Lego, BBL, scooters, footy, cricket, basketball, surfing, downhilling, Fortnite and his skateboard – it was all or nothing and it was always all. 101 hated cheese because his brother did. He was a master of the airfryer, the nutribullet and the steamer. He loved his mum’s curried sausages but he didn’t know where the dishwasher was…
His favourite pastime was pushing mum’s buttons – although a different name is on his birth certificate, “f*** off Charlie” was what you would hear most in our house, followed closely by “put a shirt on” and “take your hat off at the table”.
101 loved footy. He loved the Cats, he played 100 games for the Mitcham Hawks, then the Jets, the Goody Saints, the Camels and Westies, he just wanted to play and be a part of the team. It was 101 who taught us you can’t shower unless you have your bluetooth speaker fully cranked so mum and dad can’t hear themselves talk in the kitchen. 101 never wanted for soap, shampoo or shavers – someone else in the house always has it – even a used towel.
His enthusiasm for school saw no bounds – except start time and school work. But his enthusiasm for his family and his mates was real. 101 had a circle of friends the rest of us could only dream about. He loved his mates and they loved him. His friends parents’ liked having 101 in their homes. He was mates with his brother’s mates. Living with him meant waking up on weekends to four or five extra bodies in spare beds and on couches. It meant the family garage being transformed into a man cave where things parents did not know about (or probably permit) could happen.
The only time we saw 101 truly angry was when he was forced to cut his precious hair for his sister’s wedding in 2021. He never went back to a hairdresser again.
Being 101’s alarm clock was a role his mum and I took up when he left school and started his apprenticeship. “Get up mate”, “get up mate”, “mate, get up'”, “are you not gong to work today”, followed by “drive safely and don’t speed” becoming the morning mantra.
101 thrived at work, he loved working, loved his job and he idolised his boss. It meant he had money for TA Tuesdays and Wednesday wings at the Feathers. 101 was adored by the sausage dogs Grace and Zoe, who would sneak into his bed at night.
On a good day we would be lucky to see 101 for half an hour between getting home from work and heading out with his mates, but it was enough.
101 is Charlie Hinchliffe Stevens – Charlie, Charlie Boy, Chas, Links, Steve. You lived life and gave so much to so many. You were a force of nature and we will never forget your beautiful, cheeky, disarming smile.
Son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew, cousin, friend, workmate, team mate. So much more than just a number on a tragic tally.”
In honour of Charlie’s memory and the 101 lives lost on South Australia’s roads this year, the Stevens family has urged everyone to consider the significance of organ and tissue donation.
They encourage readers to engage in conversations about this vital topic with their family and friends, emphasising the potential to save lives through the generous act of organ donation.
To register for organ donation is easy, go to www.donatelife.gov.au