Gav ‘the greatest water man’ farewelled

GAV was sent off just the way he would have wanted.

His ashes scattered in the sea with the wake of a half a dozen rescue boats; where he could be left to ‘patrol Brunswick beach permanently’.

The much-loved Brunswick Surf Life Saving Inflatable Rescue Boat captain, Byron Shire Council worker was farewelled at a beach side memorial today.

At least 400 made a guard of honour to applause Mr Arthur’s ashes as they were taken in a rescue boat out to sea, but not before touching tributes were made to the father from colleagues, friends and fellow club members.

George ‘Gavin’ Arthur, born April 6, 1969, at Mullum Hospital, attended Brunswick Primary and then Mullum High School where it was said the school boy “only went to school to do sport”.

Mr Arthur showed a passion for the water sports early, achieving state level swimming rank in freestyle and butterfly, and joining a successful relay team, while surfing and fishing outside of school.

In making the eulogy, Brunswick SLS life member Mark ‘Killer’ Edwards said Mr Arthur also played rugby for Mullum High School in the hooker position “when it was a science, not like it is today.”

Mr Arthur worked on a banana farm, was an apprentice boiler-maker, worked on a trawler, went to Western Australia to work in the mines and worked at Byron Shire Council for the last 25 years.

“He was fearless, regardless what was going on, he was able to react, was stubborn and would tell you truth,” Mr Edwards said.

“He was a dedicated and focused guy, a perfectionist, a collector, hoarder and tinkerer, with a tough exterior but laid back attitude.

“His Facebook was all sunsets and sunrises and pretty things, and that’s Gav, with a soft centre in the middle.”
Mr Arthur was a state IRB champion in 1985, decorated for bravery for a rescue at Brunswick, and last December honoured with a life membership at the Brunswick SLS.

Craig Reid, president of the club, said he’d never seen anyone who knew the ocean better, and contributed greatly to the Albert program, mentoring rescue boat operators at other clubs such as Cudgen SLS.
“He was a true waterman,” Mr Reid said.

“We have the roll-over award for whoever rolled over the IRB the most and he won that at least every single year.”

Those attending the tribute said it was the perfect farewell, one Mr Arthur would have loved.

Mr Arthur died peacefully on February 8, 2017, after a one year long battle with cancer. 

From Northern Star 18th Feb by Alina Rylko