Calum Gilmour was given the ultimate accolade by his Year 13 mates at Tauranga Boys' College when they gathered in their hundreds yesterday to remember and mourn a short but well-lived life.
Heart-rending reminiscences, often funny and often thoughtful, came together at the funeral service for the 18-year-old who was killed in a car crash at Matapihi last week.
It culminated in Calum posthumously receiving the school's Wade Norton Trophy for the Year 13 boy that epitomised "the qualities of a good man".
PE teacher Gareth Hyett called on Hamish Gilmour to receive the award on behalf of his brother. Each year the Year 13 boys decide who should receive the award.
"The Year 13s of 2015 would be honoured if Hamish could come forward and receive this award on behalf of Calum," he said.
Shortly afterwards the coffin, topped with personal effects, was carried out to the waiting hearse where the Year 13s gave an emotionally charged and powerful performance of the school haka, Maunganui.
Under grey skies and spitting rain, the hearse then moved off through the ranks of schoolboys, many embracing and distressed at the passing of one of the school's real characters.
Mr Hyett summed up the endearing qualities of Calum, saying he enjoyed his bubbly sense of humour and cheekiness.
"His enthusiasm and limitless energy stood out ... I will never forget the fact that Calum never stopped smiling, he was always happy and raring to go."
Mr Hyett said he had played a lot of turf football with the high performance boys over the years, but only two could clear a ball from one end of the turf to the other - Callum Borrell and a wiry swimmer by the name of Calum Gilmour.
"With Borrell it was his size and strength. With Calum it obviously wasn't his size but the intensity in which he played, full on, a real-life energiser bunny."
He said Calum did not have an off switch and could always be counted on to say something completely out of left field.
Celebrant Marie Gilpin, who delivered the eulogy on behalf of Calum's parents, spoke about the other side of the sports-mad boy who was born in London and shifted with his family to his mother's birthplace, Tauranga, at the age of 4.
Mrs Gilpin said Calum became more introspective during Year 12, with thoughts turning to philosophical questions. At the same time he was struggling to figure out what he wanted to do once he left school. She said Calum had just turned another page in his life, two weeks before the crash. "He wanted to be a builder, keen to establish his place as a mature adult."
The hour-long service began with the song Forever Young and moved into the eulogy and tributes, including younger brother Hamish who said Calum was his role model, idol and hero.
Hamish said Calum had given him a "life talk" on the night before the crash last Thursday.
"I will cherish it forever."
Sister Caitlin, born when Calum was 9, said she would miss her brother "to the moon and back, times infinity".
Life-long friend Liam Bass said Calum was one of the most considerate guys you could ever meet, saying he was the first person there when his mother died. "A few days ago we lost a brother."
Swimming coach Tai Daniele recalled Calum's love of pranks, saying there was "deep thinking behind the cheeky grin". He said Calum "was one of the most exciting swimmers I ever coached".
Mrs Gilpin summed up Calum's qualities as free spirited, selfless and generous.