It's the people you meet who make life special

The "godfather” of triathlon on the Sunshine Coast, Garth Prowd.
The "godfather” of triathlon on the Sunshine Coast, Garth Prowd. Geoff Potter

MUCH has been written about the loss of triathlon and community legend Garth Prowd and probably nothing I write on this page can add any new information about a truly wonderful human being.

The loss for his family and close friends is something I dare not to compare to, but I also feel immense loss for someone I respected immensely.

To add to the feeling of loss are two more people who have had an impact on my life personally and the community, the common thread between three people but incomparable, if that makes any sense.

Last weekend at Alex there was a paddle-out for Richie Coombes who passed away in Mackay recently but spent a fair amount of his 50-plus years on the Sunshine Coast.

He was too young to die, certainly, but he absolutely left an impression.

Richie, who I met when he was a teenager, was a fantastic surfer and one of those guys who lit up a room when he came into it.

I was running the Mooloolaba Hotel and Richie used to come in there and one day he was telling me he could play footy as well as surf.

I didn't really believe him but told him to come down to training and have a run with the team I was in. He did and yes, he could play footy as good as he surfed.

We ended up winning two grand finals together and he certainly made an impression on me and at the time kept me young.

Last Saturday at his paddle-out there were literally hundreds of people there, some real heavyweights in the surfing world and some busted-up old footy players, all remembering a good bloke.

Then this week I picked the Daily up and saw that Wendy Thurecht had passed away last Saturday.

Like Garth, I had known Wendy most of my life. She was the oldest daughter of John and June Blanck, who were like my other family when I was growing up.

I could fill today's paper with what this family has done for myself and the community.

When June, who I loved, respected and slightly feared, passed away in the late '80s it was like Wendy took her place for me. Not that I saw that much of her but when I did it was just like seeing her mother and that is probably the biggest compliment I could give her.

I am sorry if this isn't my usual dribble about some predicament I got myself into, and yes it is slightly self-indulging but the three people above all made a massive impression on me, all for different reasons but I am so glad I had the opportunity to cross their paths through life, I am certainly better for it, as are many others, RIP.

Topics:  ashley robinson opinion column

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