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In memory of Gavin McFarlane

In memory of Gavin McFarlane

1 June 2016 - The Sunrise Foundation Gavin 777x600

Gavin McFarlane was a “Gizzy” man, who says he lived a “normal life”.

Born into a Patutahi farming family in 1939, he had 8 sisters and 7 brothers.

Gavin described his childhood as simple, but fun, milking cows and riding horses. He attended Gisborne High School for two years before leaving at 16 to pursue a building apprenticeship with Bob Crosby.

The job took him all around the East Coast, building schools and school houses for the Education Board. But at the age of 21 the big wide world beckoned and he boarded a passenger line to England with a good friend.

After two years of work and play he returned home to Gisborne and back to work for Bob Crosby. He enjoyed a 12 month stint working for a large firm in Wellington before returning home yet again to the “calm” of the East Coast.

It was at this time that he found his way into volunteering for St John’s, and helped to deliver first aide courses up the coast. He ended up giving over 20 years to the organisation.

The remainder of Gavin’s working life included building cools stores and freezers for Clark Refrigeration, a stint in butchery at his Makaraka business and carting grapes during the harvest. But it was his 40 years on and off with Hindmarsh Buses that really allowed him to explore the district and meet lots of new faces.

In his spare-time Gavin was an avid member of Patutahi Golf club and loved nothing more than meeting friends for a quiet drink at the local.

When his health started to deteriorate at the start of 2015, Gavin thought hard about how he could give back to the community that he had loved calling home. When he heard about The Sunrise Foundation he said it appealed because, “it meant the support could go on forever rather than just giving a lump sum that would be gone when it was gone”.

Gavin chose the Gisborne East Coast Cancer Foundation and Hospice Tairawhiti as not only had they supported him, but also his wife Ngaire before she passed away in 2003. Ngaire had left a donation to the two organisations and Gavin felt strongly about doing the same. He said the people behind these groups did “amazing work” and it was important for him that the support he gave was protected to benefit the local community.