Rising star a reminder to live life to the fullest

Liam Cradock was killed in a crash in Tirau last Friday.
SUPPLIED

Liam Cradock was killed in a crash in Tirau last Friday.

The family of a Taupo teen killed on New Zealand's roads is urging other youngsters to take care when driving long distance.

On Friday Liam Cradock, 17, left Mount Albert Grammar School boarding house in Auckland to enjoy a Taupo summer with his family but he never made it. 

His sister Brittany said with NCEA exams all completed, Liam was eager to spend time with his friends, play some football and enjoy time with his family back in Taupo. 

Liam Cradock was a football star on the rise.
SUPPLIED

Liam Cradock was a football star on the rise.

READ MORE:
Rising Taupo star cut short in crash
* One person killed in car crash near Tirau

His mother, Karen Millar, urged other teens like her son to take extra care on long distance drives as she didn't want any other parent to experience the loss she now was.

"I know it can be hard to put an older head on a young man," Karen said.

Liam achieved a lot in his short life.
SUPPLIED

Liam achieved a lot in his short life.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash on State Highway 1 west of Tirau that claimed Liam's life but his father Grant Cradock believed his son was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

"The message we want to put out there is life is very short and you need to take every opportunity and if kids are driving we need to respect the road," he said.

"I can understand where his head was at. He was excited to get home."

His mum said Liam had plenty to be excited about and was on the cusp of making his mark on the world.

Ad Feedback

His prowess on the football field, backed by hours of practice, was opening up doors and he had 'hedged his bets' by focusing on his academic studies.

He had just been named a prefect for MAGS school house and, even before exams, he had passed his level 2 NCEA courses. 

"His dream was to be a professional footballer," Millar said. 

"His second aim was to get a scholarship to play football at an American University. His father and him were going to go over to the states when he finished school."

Liam started his football career at just three-years-old.

"The funny thing was he didn't want to go on the field. It took him a few goes but once he got on it was all he wanted to do."

In Taupo he played for many school teams and clubs.

As he matured he was selected for the Waitemata Football Club under 19s, the Taupo mens team, Ricki Herbert Academy squad and Waikato Bay of Plenty.

He also tried out for the West Ham United Academy, the Nike Academy and had travelled through Barcelona and London playing football. 

"Liam always knew he was a good footballer," Cradock said. 

"He worked hard for it, but he was never cocky or arrogant. He was always well grounded."

Liam would practice for hours on end. His sister Brittany would take him down to Crown Park to practice for hours.

It was that or listen to him bounce the ball off the back fence at home.  

Although Liam could be a bit cheeky to his sister, she spoke of him highly and was proud of the man he was turning into. She said his time at Mount Albert Grammar School matured her younger brother.

Cradock was proud Liam had been selected for a prefect at the school house and, after his death, the family was told he was to be the head boy for the boarding school. 

"I think for me his selection as a prefect after just one year at the school showed his character," he said. 

Liam's Facebook page has been flooded with messages from his friends since his death.

"I know teenage boys don't usually tell people they love each other but so many are saying that," Cradock said. 

"Everyone just held Liam in such high regard."

He said his son's death was a sobering reminder of how short, and precious life could be. 

"You have to take every opportunity. And that's what Liam did. 

"He lived his life to the full right across the board." 

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

A man of steel (and iron)

Glen O'Neill makes masterpieces from wrought iron and steel in his North Canterbury workshop.

Pacific youth suicide risk

A study of Pacific suicide deaths over a 17-year period found boys aged between 12 and 18 were most at risk.

Young Pacific people three times more likely to attempt suicide than European youth, study shows.

Minority depression 'missed'

Despite reporting higher levels of distress and depression than New Zealand Europeans, Asian immigrants often go ...

Maori, Pacific and Asian Kiwis are more at risk of mental illness, but diagnosed less often than Europeans, study finds.

Probe into cop sex abuse claims

Police confirmed the officer faced a criminal investigation, but would not say whether he had been stood down.

Criminal investigation into woman's claims she was sexually abused by a senior policeman.

Wellington

Transmission Gully sneak peek video

The 27-kilometre, four-lane motorway will run inland between Wellington northern suburbs and Paekakariki on the Kapiti ...

After two million man hours, the highway north of Wellington still isn't halfway built.

Twin fires shock town

The backyard of Corrinne Oliver's home in Mauriceville. In the foreground is her daughter Chance's Yamaha motorbike.

Good neighbour tried to help a stranger after a fire. It cost her her home.

Sevens decision still pending video

No decision yet on whether Wellington's Westpac Stadium will be given another try at hosting the annual Sevens tournament.

Could a meeting in Tokyo next month say sayonara to Wellington's hosting rights?

Return of the cluster flies

Cluster fly larvae have had perfect conditions with the wet warm weather recently, and many people are finding the flies ...

It sounds like a horror movie plot - swarms of cluster flies besieging North Island homes.

Canterbury

Hospitality a 'ruthless' game

Smash Palace owner Johnny Moore says it's not easy to start a hospitality business from scratch.

OPINION: The best way to start a bar or cafe in Christchurch is to buy someone's broken dreams.

Three shark bites video

The French tourist arrives at Dunedin Hospital by helicopter after she was attacked by a shark while bodyboarding in ...

A shark had the legs of a bodyboarding tourist in its mouth during an attack at a popular Southland surf spot.

'Pansy vegan' sign outrage video

The blackboard was wiped clean after a deluge of complaints.

The words on the blackboard outside a Chch pub were meant to be a joke - few found it funny.

Collapsed home survivor dies

Margaret Edgar, who was pulled from the rubble of the historic Elms Homestead after the Kaikoura earthquake in November, ...

Woman pulled from wreckage at Elms Homestead after Kaikoura quake has died.

Waikato

Thieves target soldiers' graves

Raymond Bedford's family, daughter Judy Fleming, left, great grandson Josh Fleming, granddaughter Kathy Fleming and ...

More than a dozen plaques have been targeted for scrap.

Cyclist versus car

The crash happened around 5pm.

A cyclist is in a critical condition, following a crash in Morrinsville.

Unrepentant over period drama

Waikato Times columnist Tom O'Connor says he was once savaged by a woman on her period.

Columnist says make your own sanitary items, internet says get real.

Celebs in karst-studded landscape

Race Director Tim Day and Organiser Paul Charteris on the trail.

Television presenters Samantha Hayes and Mike 'action man' McRoberts prepare for stunning Waitomo trail run.

Taranaki

Passport missing after giveaway

American Alice Glasser lost her passport when she gave away her backpack and other possessions on the side of New ...

An act of kindness by American woman living in New Plymouth backfired when she left her passport in items she gave away.

Bar owner punched

A barman has allegedly been assaulted at New Plymouth's Treehouse Bar and Bistro.

Police are looking for a man who allegedly assaulted a barman in New Plymouth.

Dman and Ironman

Dinnie Moeahu aims to complete the Taupo Ironman on March 3,  2018.

He may hate running, but that won't stop Dinnie Moeahu becoming an Ironman.

Fired after beating co-worker

Tansley Ratapu lost his job and earned a criminal conviction when he appeared in the New Plymouth District Court after ...

Petrol station worker saw red and lashed out after his workmate took too long with the tills.

Manawatu

Free al fresco films

Frozen proved popular on the big screen in The Square.

The Square transformed into an impromptu picture-palace, picnic ground and play area.

Work begins on slip video

Work began on the larger of the two slips in the Manawatu Gorge, on Thursday.

Work has finally begun to clear the large slip blocking the Manawatu Gorge.

Off the top of my dome

The aurora at Lake Rotoiti on April 23, captured by Nelson photographer Terry Urban.

Celestial bodies will soon be visible from Palmerston North once more.

Goodies for women

At an earlier Women's Expo, Sara Noaro, right, from Gorgeous, a fashion shop in Shannon, shows a dress to Amy Cousins ...

More than 140 stalls to tempt women shoppers and some men, at the women's expo.

Nelson

Fueled by vege oil video

27042017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

Nelson College student Neil MacMillan uses cooking oil from the ...

Neil MacMillan was 10 when he first started sketching plans for a plant-powered vehicle. Now it's a reality.

Ready, jet, go

Alan Caudwell with his Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatros jet.

Is there something missing in your life? Say a jet capable of getting up to 750kmh?

Prison for $240k fraud

Candice Preston and her husband Phillip Walker were found guilty of benefit fraud worth nearly $330,000.

A couple stood in the dock together to be sentenced for "one of the highest ranking" NZ benefit frauds.

Hone sleeping ban plan

Protests such as this in the Nelson CBD will soon be subject to a permit process under a new council bylaw.

A proposed new bylaw out for public consultation bans sleeping in the CBD and requires permits for protests.

Marlborough

Property hunters turn to 'P houses'

This one-bedroom, one-bathroom house in Blenheim is going under the hammer with methamphetamine contamination.

As this "cosy" meth-ridden Blenheim flat shows, people know a bargain when they see one.

Yealands opts for trial

Peter Yealands won the Lincoln University Foundation's South Island Farmer of the Year in 2013. (File photo)

One of NZ's leading wine producers denies allegations he illegally dumped a winemaking byproduct.

Pokie scheme 'netted $1m a year'

Michael Joseph O'Brien was allegedly at the centre of a pokie machine grants scam.

Crown alleges true control was concealed to deceive gambling authorities.

One month, 25,000 meals

BV Gourmet second chef Chris Pearce makes pickled beetroot for harvest meals.

It's been a challenging harvest, not just for the vineyard workers, but for those who feed them. 

South Canterbury

'Negotiate or face another strike'

Support workers Nicola Johns and Debs Crowe gathered on Theodosia St, near The Bay Hill, to protest against stagnant pay ...

Protesting support staff give employer two options - start bargaining, or face another strike.

Westpac admits issues

The Westpac ATM, the ony one in Fairlie, which has broken down again this week.

Westpac admits service in Fairlie not up to scratch following complaints over ATM.

SCDHB emergency plans tested

SCDHB staff during the major incident program pictured were from left registered nurse Carla McFarlene and radiographer ...

DHB staff put through paces in plane crash scenario involving large influx of patients.

'Mindless acts of damage' costly

A heat pump was pushed off the roof of Twizel Area School.

Vandalism at Twizel Area School could cost thousands to repair.

Southland

Struggle after double shooting

Ben and Verity McLean.

The families of the victims are in shock, but say they're humbled by the outpouring of support and compassion.

Deputy mayor resigns

Cr Darren Ludlow.

Darren Ludlow has resigned as deputy mayor of Invercargill.

Shark attack video

The French tourist arrives at Dunedin Hospital by helicopter after she was attacked by a shark while bodyboarding in ...

A surfer has been attacked by a shark at a beach in the Catlins in Southland.

'A role-model family' video

Verity and Ben McLean.

Verity McLean was a "happy mum". Now she's dead and her husband accused of killing her.

Ad Feedback