‘I look at him and say if I was go­ing to model my­self on some­one, I would want to be like Ben.’

Albany Extra - - Front Page - Tim Ed­munds

The fa­ther of Ben Napier says his son will be re­mem­bered for his pas­sion towards his foot­ball club, adding he was some­one he would be proud to model him­self on.

Tony Napier said it was in his son’s na­ture to climb from a young age and his sense of ad­ven­ture had trag­i­cally led to his death when he fell from a build­ing on Aberdeen Street in North­bridge in the early hours of Sun­day morn­ing.

The 20-year-old had been out with friends and they had left Jack Rab­bit Slim’s night­club to go their sep­a­rate ways about 4.30am.

When Mr Napier could not be con­tacted on Sun­day, friends re­turned to the scene 16 hours later at 8pm to find his body in the al­ley­way where he was last seen climb­ing.

Speak­ing on Wed­nes­day, Mr Napier said he and wife Del­wyn had been over­whelmed by the com­mu­nity sup­port shown af­ter the death of their son.

Mr Napier said his son was a footy fa­natic who loved play­ing for the Den­mark Walpole Foot­ball Club and con­tribut­ing to the club as their youngest com­mit­tee mem­ber be­fore leav­ing to study in Perth af­ter the 2015 sea­son.

He then “threw him­self” into his new club, Wes­ley Curtin, with the same pas­sion, he said.

“The club was part of his life ba­si­cally, he was ob­ses­sive and loved foot­ball,” Mr Napier said.

“Not only play­ing but, im­por­tantly, it was be­ing part of a club and all hav­ing a joint pur­pose as a group to do some­thing and achieve some­thing.”

Mr Napier said his son had helped raise funds for the Mag­pies, gain­ing grants to up­grade the clu­b­rooms, and even marked the bound­ary, but it was his qual­i­ties that had the big­gest im­pact on those around him.

“He could re­late to any­one — even though he was a kid or a young bloke he could re­late to any­one in the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“He was com­fort­able in his own skin and he could talk to any­one.

“It didn’t mat­ter who you were.

“I was so proud of that as­pect, even if he didn’t ever play footy, he was a beau­ti­ful hu­man be­ing and footy was just an­other side of that.”

Mr Napier said his son was a model cit­i­zen whom he and mother Del­wyn were im­mensely proud of.

“Ben was the type of kid, he was my son but I thought he was a re­ally de­cent guy and I was very proud of him for a num­ber of rea­sons,” he said.

“As a gen­uine hu­man be­ing and per­son, I look at him and say ‘if I was go­ing to model my­self on some­one, I would want to be like Ben’.

“He had a ter­rific sense of hu­mour, a very dry sense of hu­mour and he would al­ways see the good in peo­ple.”

Mr Napier said his son was a mem­ber of three AFL clubs — Gee­long and Gold Coast be­cause of Gary Ablett Jr, and most re­cently North Mel­bourne af­ter for­mer Great South­ern Storm team­mate Declan Mountford was drafted.

He joked his son’s kick­ing skills had never im­proved de­spite never miss­ing a train­ing ses­sion.

“You would want 18 play­ers like Ben in your team but you would never end up scor­ing,” he said.

Mr Napier said the fam­ily would at­tend Den­mark-Walpole’s fi­nal home game of the sea­son this Satur­day, with many of his for­mer team­mates set to take the field in Ben’s honour.

“This is just an ab­so­lute hor­ri­ble tragedy and any­one look­ing from the out­side might think ‘what is this guy do­ing climb­ing on this build­ing late at night?’,” he said.

“Ben was al­ways a climber from when he was a tod­dler and he would climb up on wardrobes.

“Any­body who knew him knew he was al­ways up for a climb and chal­lenge.

“This night he has made a ter­ri­ble er­ror of judg­ment and hav­ing some al­co­hol hasn’t helped and he has some­how lost his foot­ing and hit his head with the worst pos­si­ble re­sult.

“He had a huge im­pact and we are just so sad.

“He is a huge loss for us.”

Pic­ture: Mal­colm He­berle

Den­mark man Ben Napier died af­ter fall­ing from a build­ing in North­bridge on Sun­day.

Ben Napier was a life­guard at the Den­mark Surf Life Sav­ing Club.

Ben played for Great South­ern Storm.

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