Father of Oatlands tragedy is invited to the Queen's funeral

Father whose three children were mowed down and killed in Oatlands crash tragedy reveals how Anthony Albanese broke the news he was invited to the Queen’s funeral

  • Danny Abdallah lost three of his children who were hit by a drunk driver in 2020
  • He and his wife Leila forgave the killer and set up i4give Day and Foundation
  • Mr Abdallah is one of 10 Aussies to be invited to the Queen’s funeral next week
  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called him to inform him about his invite
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

A father who lost three of his children in a horror crash has revealed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese contacted him in a surprise phone call as he was leaving church to invite him to the Queen’s funeral.

Danny and Leila Abdallah’s kids Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, Sienna, eight, and their niece Veronique Sakr, 11, were killed when Samuel Davidson, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, slammed into them on February 1, 2020 at Oatlands in Sydney’s northwest.

After the tragedy Mr Abdallah and his wife forgave Davidson, who was sentenced to 28 years in jail, and the couple later set up i4give Day and Foundation to remember their lost loved ones and help others in a similar situation.

He is now one of ten Australians besides dignitaries to be invited to the Queen’s funeral after Her Majesty passed away last Thursday at the age of 96. 

Danny Abdallah (pictured here with wife Leila) is among the Australians invited to the Queen’s funeral. Mr Abdallah and his wife lost three of their four children and their niece in 2020 when they were hit by a drunk driver

Ten Australians have been invited to attend the Queen’s funeral after Her Majesty (pictured) passed away last Thursday at the age of 96

Mr Abdallah said he was informed about the invitation in a phone call from Mr Albanese.

‘I was leaving Church on Sunday and Mr Albanese called me directly and said “Danny, what are your plans next week?” He asked me if I’d like to join him [for the funeral],’ he told The Daily Telegraph.

He explained that he was ‘lost for words’ after receiving the call.

‘It’s one of those things where you would never expect it in your wildest dreams. This is a part of history, it’s one of the biggest shifts of our lifetime,’ he said.

‘As a child you would watch her on TV. Now, I’m going there to pay my respect to a beautiful queen who served her nation.’

Mr Abdallah will accompany Mr Albanese on a plane to attend the service at London’s Westminster Abbey on September 19.  

He added that his children would be proudly watching over him as he attends the funeral.

Mr Abdallah was informed about his invitation to the service after he was called by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) 

Mr Abdallah (pictured with his wife Leila ) will accompany Mr Albanese on a plane to attend the service at London’s Westminster Abbey. He said that his children would be proudly watching over him as he attends the funeral

Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, Sienna, eight (all pictured) and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11, were killed by a drunk driver on February 1, 2020

Australian of the Year and champion wheelchair tennis player Dylan Alcott will also be in attendance, after making Her Majesty giggle during a Zoom call in May. 

Legendary racehorse trainer Chris Waller received a formal invite.

Mr Waller, who is best known for training the recording-breaking mare Winx, was in weekly contact with her Majesty leading up to her death.

Valmai Dempsey, the 2022 senior Australian of the Year, who has volunteered for St John Ambulance for more than 50 years, will also attend.

Dr Miriam Rose, the 2021 Senior Australian of the Year, has also been named on the attendance list. She became the Northern Territory’s first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher in 1975 and pioneered a unique brand of education, fusing Western knowledge with cultural learning.

Shanna Whan, the 2022 Australian of the Year Local Hero, will also attend. After overcoming a battle with alcohol addiction, she has dedicated her life to helping others get sober.

Dylan Alcott is one of the few Aussies who have been invited to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

Legendary race horse trainer Chris Waller is also expected to receive a formal invite, but has said he’s yet to get the official call

Saba Abraham, a local hero from Queensland, has also been named by Mr Albanese to attend. She is an Eritrean refugee and played a vital role in combatting the spread of Covid as the Chairperson of the Brisbane Community Leaders Gathering.

Ms Abraham helped translate vital health updates into various languages.

Kim Smith – a local hero from Tasmania, has been given the green light to go. He oversaw the formation of Reclink, which organises sporting activities to support young people struggling with drug addiction.

Trudy Lin, the 2022 Young Australian of the Year, and one of only 20 practising specialists in Australia’s Special Needs Dentistry, has also been invited.

RSL Australia president Greg Melick will also attend on behalf of the organisation, of which the Queen was a patron.

‘She dedicated her life to the service of her nation and the peoples of the Commonwealth and never shirked this great responsibility,’ Mr Melick said on the Queen’s death.

‘The RSL will be forever grateful for her commitment, encouragement and support for our veterans and service personnel.’

Australian war hero Ben Roberts-Smith (pictured with the Queen in 2011) is also set to fly to London for the occasion, having been awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross 

Protocol means only 10 Aussies are able to attend, excluding dignitaries 

Australian war hero Ben Roberts-Smith is also set to fly to London for the occasion, having been awarded the prestigious military honour of the Victoria Cross.

Victoria Cross recipients are invited to funeral commemorations by Buckingham Palace as protocol.

Dignitaries invited include Mr Albanese, Jodie Haydon, Governor-General David Hurley and his wife, Linda, and Australia’s Acting High Commissioner to the UK, Lynette Wood.

The Australians will join US President Joe Biden, European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden at the service. 


Danny Abdallah:

Danny Abdallah and his wife Leila lost three of their children, and their niece, when they were ran over by a drunk driver in Sydney in February, 2020.

Their kids Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, son Antony, 13, and niece Veronique Sakr, 11, were all killed while walking to get ice-cream in Oatlands.

Samuel Davidson, who was drunk and high on drugs, sped through a red light before mounting a footpath on February 1, 2020 and mowing down the children in a crime that shocked Australia. He was sentenced to 28-years behind bars.

The Abdallah’s have since set up the i4give Foundation to help families who’ve gone through similar trauma and to help them find forgiveness.

Dylan Alcott: 

Alcott was named this year’s Australian of the Year.

The wheelchair tennis champion has advocated for those with disabilities.

‘My purpose in life is to change perceptions so people with disabilities can live the lives they deserve to live, do whatever they want to do,’ he said.

Saba Abraham:

Saba Abraham was awarded Queensland Local Hero this year.

The Eritrean refugee helped 200 refugee and migrant women get work at her restaurant.

During the Covid outbreak, she chaired the Brisbane Community Leaders Gathering, which helped translate public health messages into various languages for people from different backgrounds.

Valmai Dempsey:

Valmai Dempsey was crowned the ACT Senior Australian of the Year 2022. 

She has dedicated 50 years of her life to volunteer for St John’s Ambulance.

She is one of the ACT’s longest-serving volunteers and she dedicates more of her time than any other volunteer.

Ms Dempsey played a role in the 2020 Black Summer bushfires, leading 40 volunteers to help those affected.

Trudy Lin:

 Trudy Lin is the SA Young Australian of the Year 2022. 

She is one of just 24 Special Needs Dentistry specialists in Australia.

She provides oral healthcare to people with disability, psychiatric conditions, and complex medical conditions such as cancer. 

Ms Lin also treats people experiencing homelessness, trauma, and domestic violence.

Professor Helen Milroy:

Prof Milroy was Australia’s first Indigenous Doctor and was awarded Australian of the Year for Western Australia in 2021.

She has been a pioneer in research, education and training in Aboriginal and child mental health, including recovery from grief and trauma for more than 25 years.

Prof Milroy was appointed as the commissioner for the Australian Government’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013 to 2017.

Kim Smith APM:

Kim Smith was crowned the Tasmanian Local Hero this year.

The former policeman created Reclink, which sets up sporting activities for teenagers struggling with drug addiction.

He also set up the Young Women’s program which helps victims of abuse and neglect.

Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM:

 Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann is an Aboriginal elder, artist and activist of the Ngan’gityemerri language group.

She is the Northern Territory’s first fully qualified Indigenous teacher and advocates for art to be taught as part of every child’s education in schools.

She also set up the Miriam-Rose Foundation, which empowers Indigenous youth through art and education.

Miriam-Rose was named Senior Australian of the Year in 2021.

Chris Waller: 

Chris Waller is a champion race horse trainer.

He has trained record-breaking mare Winx, and one of Queen Elizabeth II’s horses, Chalk Stream.

Mr Waller was in regular contact with Her Majesty, with the pair speaking about his horses often, before she died. 

Shanna Whan: 

Shanna Whan was this year’s Local Hero Australian of the Year.

She overcame her own battle with alcohol addiction to launch not-for-profit organisation Sober in the Country.

Sober in the Country helps those in rural communities struggling with alcoholism.

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