FINAL FAREWELL: Hundreds of people gathered at Alex Surf Club to say goodbye to lifesaver Pierre Allan Russell who passed away on July 24.
FINAL FAREWELL: Hundreds of people gathered at Alex Surf Club to say goodbye to lifesaver Pierre Allan Russell who passed away on July 24. Patrick Woods

Hundreds farewell lifesaver Pierre after cancer battle

CROWDS gathered for a final send off to Pierre Allan Russell as he was given his "fins, not his wings".

The popular Alexandra Headland lifesaver and local concreter died on July 24 after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Hundreds met at the family's Alexandra Headland home yesterday to take him on his final walk through Alex forest and to the beach and surf club he loved so much.

It's a journey Pierre, wife Sue and their two children, Matt and Ebony have made hundreds of times over the four decades the family has lived in the area.

Sue believed Pierre was having the last laugh after an earthquake was felt across the Sunshine Coast earlier in the morning.

"It was just Pierre creating more fuss," she said.

Tony Pittard told the audience gathered in front of the Alex Surf Club the community was there "not to mourn, but to celebrate a wonderful person".

"We are here to send Pierre off on his final earthly journey," he said.

"He was a great husband, father and a friend to all."

 

Sue spoke about how the couple met with her "brand new yellow kombi" in 1972.

They were married in 1973 and then went from their Victoria home on "honeymoon to Queensland".

They bought their home in Alex in 1974, "a five minute walk through the forest to the beach".

Pierre took karate in the surf club's old hall.

It was with the introduction of their daughter, Ebony, to nippers that Pierre become closely involved with lifesaving.

This relationship would continue for the next 40 years as Pierre drive the IRB, the jet ski and "always came back" smiling from a time at the beach.

Sue thanked the community for its support over the last two-and-a-half years since Pierre's illness was diagnosed and progressed.

When Pierre's legs were no longer strong enough to carry him on the walk through the forest to the beach, it was people from the community would push him on his wheelchair.

IRB's, surfers and swimmers went out beyond the waves to put Pierre in final resting place.

It's here, Sue believes, Pierre will "get his fins, not his wings".



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