On a sunny Saturday morning last month, hundreds of people lined Welsby Parade, Bribie Island Bridge and points along Bribie Island Road to pay their respects as 400 motorcycles and several classic cars escorted the body of Andrew ‘Kiwi’ McGillivray on his final journey aboard his 1975 El Camino ute, accompanied by his devoted wife and soulmate for 30 years, Cathy.
Arriving at the Great Northern Garden of Remembrance in Deception Bay the entourage was greeted by hundreds more who had come together for a Celebration of the life of this popular, respected and colourful identity, so suddenly and tragically taken in a road accident. A rousing Maori Haka welcomed Andrew in his pictorially-decorated coffin, before being carried into the chapel where 200 guests were gathered, with friends and family in New Zealand and the USA being able to participate via videolink.
Understandably, there was sadness at the passing of this larger-than-life proud Kiwi who had enthusiastically inspired and helped so many others to achieve their personal goals, while his humour, friendliness and colourful sense of style always put smiles on peoples’ faces.
Cathy had insisted that everyone attending should “wear the loudest, brightest colours you own!” And they did, earning the observation as she began her eulogy, “You’re all amazing; and of course he would have expected nothing less.”
So it’s not surprising that, beyond the profound sense of loss, this occasion, lovingly orchestrated by Cathy and close relatives, reflected the love and joy which Andrew brought to others, by offering a true celebration of a life well-lived and so generously shared. Tears were shed, but, from the moment Cathy began her unconventional, but so “right”, remembrances with a description of the outfit in which her beloved husband was now dressed, laughter prevailed. Andrew would have approved.
Following the reading of tributes from sons Benjamin, Samuel and Jacob and from Easyriders social motorcycle club, a Life In Pictures presentation featuring many of Andrew’s most outlandish creations and poses, raised more laughter and tears.
Leaving the chapel to the strains of Pokarekare-Ana, El Camino conveyed our friend away for the last time, to applause and the mighty roar of Harley-Davidson engines.
Truly, he will be missed. But never forgotten.
- Michael Thomas
A fund to assist Cathy has been set up at www.mycause.com.au/p/273190/