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The Jeep — In Memory of Neil Gavin

What a horrible week I've had... The main reason I haven't been updating Flickr is due to the flu. I've been incapacitated for about 10 days, and I'm only just starting to feel human again. Half way though this week from hell, I learned that a friend in Germany had an accident while kitesurfing, he has been in an artificial coma and will require months of rehabilitation. This impacts my brothers trip to europe, sad news...


However, on monday I was devastated to learn that a very close family friend shot himself. This completely knocked the wind out of me, I didn't know how to cope with it. The whole family was in shock while we processed the news and thought about life without Neil.


On the topic of this photo, it was actually taken last year on my 21st birthday. Looking at this vehicle, you'll immediately notice that it isn't actually a "Jeep" but rather a Suzuki. Regardless, the name "Neil's Jeep" was coined whenever we looked out the window and saw him going bout his business in this classic little car. We have since adopted it, and will keep it forever as a lasting reminder of his legacy...


Relatives asked me to speak at Neil's funeral, held on friday, and I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to say... Most people who read this wont be able to appreciate this, having not known this remarkable individual, however I wanted to make this public testament to a remarkable character & amazing friend:


It really is incredibly hard to put into words and to justify what Neil meant to our family. We used to say "He's worth his weight in gold!" and even that isn’t saying enough. When I spend time at our Gibbston, wherever I look, see Neil's legacy.


All around our family home I see the many ways that he contributed to our lives.


Several years ago, when our family built at Mt Rosa in Gibbston, Neil arrived to introduce himself and let us know that he did work on the vineyard in front of our house. He was the first of several friendly farming type neighbors we were to meet, but remained the one who became invaluable to us in many ways and a dear, dear friend. I was only a teenager when I first met him but I was immediately filled with a sense of security and warmth.


He was an encyclopedia of priceless knowledge in all things technical and mechanical and full of experience.

A simple request for help often led to him going out of his way and offering advice and support far beyond the call of duty. He would see us doing a simple fencing job in the paddock that backs onto the vineyard and come by with a tool or the right size gizmo to make the job work better. Frequently we would be mending a part for a car and call him for advise and sure as eggs his reply would be ' No worries I will pop by after work and lend a hand" - Sure enough there he was with a smile on his face a tool just the right size and a wealth of knowledge...


“You don't know what you’ve got till its gone...” - These words from my brother, Linden, ring true.

As over the last week, as the reality of this tragedy has sunken in, I’m beginning to fully realize the void that will be left in our lives following the loss of this wonderful human being.


With that said, I’m able to reflect on the priceless good times I spent with Neil and smile.


I’m able to call on experience gained while working alongside him and feel proud.


I’m able to remember his kind and welcoming spirit and be thankful to have had him as a part of our lives.


I’m a better person having known Neil... Farewell, my friend, and thank you.


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This photo, and all my other works, are covered under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND — For full details, click here...


Thanks for visiting!

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Taken on May 19, 2011