Words from Dad

Some words from Dad

Today I would like to pay tribute to those that helped shape Andrew into the wonderful young man we knew, loved and admired.
One of the saddest parts of this week is that our new granddaughter Saskia will never know the love Andrew had for his beautiful little girl & Saskia will never have the benefit of growing up with an adoring and funny uncle.
A lot of what we saw in Andrew, the young man, was a direct result of the love, affection and friendship his early years by his mother and sister.
Andrew was blessed with a doting mother and a loving sister Alex who was probably Andrew's best friend. This close relationship with Aileen & Alex undoubtedly endowed Andrew with an enviable empathy he seemed to have with the opposite sex. I think it is testimony to Andrew's character that he could remain friends with the opposite sex long after the intimacy had faded.
When Andrew was about 6 years old, we had a glimpse of the Andrew of today. Andrew was involved in an incident in Myers store in Orange, which typified his mischievous love of life & his pleasure in making others laugh. While Aileen was shopping, as women are wont to do, Andrew disappeared. The panic set in & Aileen searched the store in vain for her little boy. Late in the search, Aileen noticed a crowd had gathered on the footpath outside the store laughing loudly. A window dresser was clothing the mannequins in the latest fashion starting at one end of the window displays. As she finished each bay Andrew would follow methodically disrobing all the well-dressed models & admiring their form, much to the enjoyment of the growing crowd (and embarrassment of his mother)!
In 6th form & in his first year playing rugby, there was another incident that provided us with an insight into Andrew's developing character. As a lineout was being reset, Andrew's opposite number punched Andrew right in front of the referee. There was a hush as the parents paused to see what reaction there would be from Andrew. As the referee drew his whistle to his mouth, Andrew turned to the boy and said "Is that the best you can do - my Grandmother can hit harder than that". The situation was immediately defused with many a chuckle from the crowd and the game continued - psychologically, Andrew had won that particular contest.
His years at Shore were extremely happy & productive for Andrew. I don't think Andrew will ever be remembered at Shore as a great academic but the influence that Shore had on Andrew's developing character should not be underestimated. I would personally like to thank the school & David Anderson in particular, for helping Andrew mature into "a bloody good bloke".
The pride I have for my son Andrew will never diminish. His unflinching loyalty, generosity, love of life & compassion for others, provide a salutary lesson for us all. Andrew has enriched my life & I grieve not for Andrew, who had a full, albeit short life, but I grieve for me, because selfishly, I shall miss the enormous pleasure of his love, sense of humour & friendship.
Finally, I would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to a number of special people, without whom we could not have managed this awful week.
Firstly, there was Don & Jilli Chalmers who spent the first couple of days with us as we tried to come to grips with our shocking loss.
Then there is Macquarie Bank and Sharon Ericsson, in particular, who have provided such wonderful support, particularly when Andrew had only just arrived in Tokyo to take up a position with the Bank.
Whilst I have often been critical of bureaucracies in the past, I would like to thank Johnson O'Shana from the Department of Foreign Affairs who has provided us with unstinting support & advice, as we worked our way through all the Red Tape.
Our son in law, Antony Shaw, has been our rock - attending to all funeral & other arrangements, while being there for us all 24/7. An amazing young man and a very good friend to Andrew.
Our daughter Alex, in a heart-wrenching week, has not only had to look after young Saskia but has, somehow, contained her grief for the loss of her little brother & best friend. Among other things, Alex has, with Ant, prepared the Order of Service and the collection of photographs of Andrew you see in the Church while providing unending emotional support to Aileen & I. Alex is indeed, a remarkable young lady & Aileen & I are extremely proud of her.
It would appear to be true that some women are adept at handling multi tasks. Maybe it is a generation thing, because, believe it or not, I have seen Andrew do it too - having a beer, a cigarette and entertaining his friends - all at the same time.
Also I would like to thank Jonas, Will, Rory, Les, Klemme & Hobbsie who took the time to take us all to the local on Saturday night & provide a constant stream on humorous anecdotes of what life was like with Andrew. This interlude provided us with a much needed lift - Andrew was blessed with many great friends.
Lastly, I would like to thank all who have come today, those that have been there for the family over this past week & those many who phoned to express their condolences. You are all invited to join us at the Commodore Hotel to bid farewell to our son, brother, our friend - Andrew Woinarski.
Believe me - it is true - only the good die young - Andrew has proved that to me.



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