Farewell to Club Legend Neil Purcell

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It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of North Steyne club legend, great friend and life saver extraordinaire, Neil Purcell OAM.

Neil peacefully passed away on Friday, 21 June 2019, and leaves behind an unmatched record of service to North Steyne and a lifetime of love, loyalty and dedication to the surf lifesaving movement.

Neil joined North Steyne in 1942 when he was 14, and his contribution to life saving spanned 77 years at club, branch, state and on a national level.

In 2017, he received his 75 years Long Service Award. Very few people have reached such a milestone of community service, again indicating what an extraordinary man Neil was.

Along with lifesaving duties, Neil competed in and coached R&R, and was a competition official for over 45 years. He served as the Club’s Vice-President (5 years), Club Captain (2 years), Secretary (2 years), Assistant Secretary, (2 years) and Assistant Treasurer (5 years). He was given life membership of North Steyne in 1971, and was awarded the same for the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch (1976), SLSNSW (1999) and SLSA (2001).

Jack Sutherland, Deputy President, life member and long-time friend, said Neil was nature’s gentleman. He was strong, kind, industrious, generous, and helpful – the epitome of surf lifesaving and volunteering. Neil was a giant in lifesaving and will be sadly missed by all those who were lucky enough to meet him.

Arthur McCarroll, life member and past president, remembered Neil as an inspiration and mentor to many in administration, lifesaving and competition.

Life member and past branch president, Paul Day noted that he has had a close association with Neil since 1957 when he first joined the Club. Over the years he worked with Neil at club, branch and state levels. He said you will have to go a long way to find someone else in surf lifesaving who has contributed and devoted some 77 years of continued service.

Neil was truly one of a kind. He was a mentor, an advisor, an inspiration and admired by many. Our deepest condolences go to his beloved wife Ann and son Anthony. Thank you for sharing Neil with us for so many years.

Most of all, we are very proud that Neil wore the Black and Gold for his lifetime. He was much loved and will be very missed.

Rest in peace, Neil, in gentle waves, shining sun, cool breezes and knowing your legacy will always live on in the spirit of North Steyne.

The funeral for Neil Purcell will be held at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, 199 Delhi Rd, North Ryde, in the North Chapel 3.15pm Friday 28 June 2019.

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