Community honours Ash’s memory by fundraising for Reef

Great Barrier Reef Foundation

When Ash McKellar was tragically lost at sea at just 43 years of age, his family were overwhelmed with support from the community. The McKellar family were deeply moved by the outpouring of love for the father of two, motivating them to honour his legacy by setting up a fundraising page for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

“So many people wanted to help and support myself and our two children and it is not always easy to know what to do,” said Ash’s wife, Elizabeth.

“This gave people a way to connect and to pay their respects to Ash by supporting one of his many passions.”

Ever since childhood, Ash loved the water and was never as happy as when he was out on a lake or in the ocean.

“At any given moment he would find a reason to be in or on the water, sailing, swimming, kite boarding, paddle boarding, wake boarding, snorkelling, free diving, scuba diving or just taking out his boat to sit and soak up the vastness,” said Elizabeth.

“He loved the serenity but also the possibility for adventure.”

Ash with wife, Elizabeth on their scuba dive course on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

Ash with wife, Elizabeth on their scuba dive course on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

Ash’s passion for coral reefs took him around the world but he never got the chance to dive on the Great Barrier Reef. He was saving it for when his children would be old enough to join him.

“He was desperately worried that by the time they got there, there would be no reef left worth the visit,” said Elizabeth. “That the kids would miss out on all the beauty and wonderment that he had got to witness.

“Ash loved being out on the water. He was always as inspired by the coral or the nudibranch as he was by the turtle or the shark.”

“He took up free diving to be more at one with the creatures under the sea. He rarely went fishing though because ‘fish are my friends’.

Ash was heavily involved in the martial arts world and in October, his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu friends held an open mat day in his honour with a fundraiser.

The community raised an incredible $5800 in Ash's honour.

The community raised an incredible $5800 in Ash’s honour.

Seven local schools gathered with the intention to learn and to play ‘just the way Ash lived his life’.

“They raised money for the Great Barrier Reef through entry fees, raffles and a BBQ,” explains Elizabeth.

“There was no fanfare or speeches just a quiet acknowledgement of the impact that he made on them.

“I hope that the money raised in Ash’s name can help sustain the reef so that his children and many others will get to have those experiences that Ash so cherished.”

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation sincerely thank the McKellar family and their community for the incredible funds raised in honour of Ash and for allowing us to share this tribute in his memory.

You too can honour the life of a loved one by raising funds for the Reef. Click here to find out more or get in contact at [email protected]

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