Dragons Abreast Geelong will never be the same again. We have lost our No. 1 Supporter, Smurph who died in Geelong Hospital on 5th January, 2011.
Smurph was a foundation member of Dragons Abreast Geelong and was a very generous supporter over a period of six years. Smurph had joined the Royal British Navy at 16 years of age and had been involved in active service during the Second World War. He was a great storyteller who loved sharing his experiences. At some point after the war he joined the Merchant Navy until his retirement in New Zealand in his later years. Smurph’s life was the sea and boats. His life with us was simply a continuation. He adored each and every one of us and we adored him. He was the most efficient boat and equipment Manager that any club could possible have. We miss his Scottish voice on the riverbank giving directions.
Smurph’s way was often the only way and unfortunately we often fell short of the exacting standards imposed by this former naval officer of the British Navy. But he loved us nevertheless. He was a thorough and true gentleman at all times, his manners were impeccable and he was full of compassion when any of us were ill or overwhelmed.
Everyone around the regatta traps knew Smurph. He was one of those people labelled a “character”. He was a great club man – tardiness annoyed him, he was utterly reliable and steadfastly loyal. In fact, during the year preceding his death, even though he could barely walk, he still went about his duties at the clubrooms. On one occasion he collapsed down at the river. Nothing ever stopped him. We felt like the daughters he never had and his home was furnished with our club photos, his medals and associated Dragons Abreast sporting memorabilia. We have no doubt that he is, at this moment, watching over us in heaven and urging us on in his customary style. “Have Fun Girls, EnjoyYourselves”!!!