Hundreds gather for Patrick Avery funeral

By Kristin Macfarlane

While there were many tears during the celebration  of Patrick Avery's life, there were also plenty of laughs as friends and family shared their memories of a cheeky young man with an infectious grin who couldn't get enough of the outdoors and lived in the moment.

A service to celebrate Patrick Dean Avery's life was held at the Redwood Forest Sails on Saturday. Close to 1000 people attended.

The Rotorua 21-year-old and national cycling representative died on Tuesday night after falling from his bike during a criterium race.

An emotional tribute was made by his family. Patrick's parents, Murray and Maryann, his brother Clinton and his sister Monique each took turns to share their memories of Patrick, who was also affection ately known as Paddy or Big P, while struggling to hold back tears. While they each had different stories, the common theme was they all loved Patrick and were proud of him.

In his tribute to his son, Murray told the crowd "this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do''.

He shared stories about how his son loved everything about the outdoors, how he would use YouTube not only for entertainment purposes but also to teach himself to surf using a coffee table and how he was looking forward to a great summer with "hot chicks and catching waves''.

"He lived for every moment and hated being bored,'' Murray said.

"If he couldn't do anything outside then we seemed to pay for it.''

He said "Patrick loved the outdoors and all it had to offer'' and "had an infectious grin''.

One of the last conversations Murray had with Patrick was on Monday when he told his dad he had a good feeling about coming home to Rotorua, how Rotorua was his home and had offered him so much.

"This is so unfair Paddy you were such a great guy,'' Murray said.

"It was my pleasure that I've had you as my son.

"I love you with every ounce of my body and your departure has left a very deep hole in me.''

The thing Maryann would miss most was Patrick only giving her five minutes to get ready for a ride in the forest when he had no one else to go with.

She said it was obvious how loved he was and she understood why she was the last resort to ride with.

Clinton shared stories about how Patrick had taught him to fool their father and how he was always full of surprises.

He had just come back from a diving trip with Patrick where he had won a trip to Fiji which he had given to his parents as a Christmas present.

Clinton said he was glad Patrick was able to tell them about the gift before he died because he knew how excited he was about it.

Monique described Patrick as not only "the best brother in the world'', but a cheeky one too.

"He told me it was his mission in life to piss me off and he did a bloody good job.''

Monique also spoke about the friendship between her brother and James Dodds _ a mountainbiker who was killed when he was shot while hunting with a friend in September.

During the service friends and family shared memories of Patrick and photos of him were shown on a big screen. After the service, the casket was carried through a guard of honour to the waiting hearse.

On Saturday morning a tribute ride was held for Patrick in the Whakarewarewa Forest. Hundreds of people gathered at the bottom of Nursery Rd to take part and minutes before 9am the crowd split into  two groups waiting for Patrick's family to ride through and lead the pack.

Clinton was riding Patrick's bike.

Organiser Peter Clark said the ride was about celebrating Patrick through one of his passions.

"He spent a lot of time in the forest both training and racing and building tracks ... it was one of his passions.

"He also liked the bush for hunting, there was a lot of people here that shared that with him,'' Mr Clark said.

Patrick's coach, John Lee, said he was fortunate to have been able to coach Patrick and his family over the years. He said if Patrick was there "he'd have been at the front yelling and cracking jokes''.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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