RIP to a champ: run in peace

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - TA­MARA MCDON­ALD

A CHAM­PION Geelong ath­lete and teacher has been re­mem­bered as a car­ing and in­spi­ra­tional fig­ure.

Michael McAvoy, known as Mike, was a record-hold­ing Geelong iden­tity who won many state and na­tional ath­let­ics ti­tles. He died on June 19, aged 85.

Mr McAvoy was born on July 15, 1934, in Wood Green, North Lon­don.

He spent time in air raid shel­ters in the Lon­don Un­der­ground dur­ing World War II, be­fore be­ing evac­u­ated to out­side the city.

Af­ter re­turn­ing to Lon­don, he par­tic­i­pated in many sports as a young man, in­clud­ing run­ning, soc­cer and cy­cling.

He en­listed for Bri­tish Na­tional Ser­vice with the RAF, and served as a sig­nal­man in Kenya from 1953-54, dur­ing the Mau Mau Up­ris­ing.

An avid run­ner, it was his in­ter­est in ath­let­ics that

Olympics had fin­ished in Mel­bourne.

Mr McAvoy de­cided he wanted to cre­ate a fu­ture in Aus­tralia as a teacher, and went on to teach at pri­mary schools across the re­gion, in­clud­ing in Beech For­est, Geelong, Lit­tle River and Lara, dur­ing a ca­reer that lasted more than three decades.

A record-set­ting run­ner, Mr McAvoy con­tin­ued to run into his 80s. He has been de­scribed as in­spi­ra­tional at Landy Field, both as an open class and vet­eran run­ner rep­re­sent­ing Geelong at state and na­tional lev­els.

A sup­porter of start-up ef­forts, in­clud­ing the Geelong Cross Coun­try Club and the Geelong Masters, Mr McAvoy, in­spired many of his lo­cal stu­dents to em­brace run­ning.

He loved stay­ing at youth hos­tels, even well into his 70s, and meet­ing fit, ac­tive peo­ple of all ages from around the world.

He was also a keen gardener and sup­porter of hu­man­i­tar­ian causes.

Mr McAvoy is sur­vived by two adult daugh­ters, Jane and Diane.

He lived with the heart con­di­tion atrial fib­ril­la­tion, and sur­vived a frontal lobe stroke about four years ago, and prostate can­cer.

Mr McAvoy was di­ag­nosed with vas­cu­lar de­men­tia last year, and dealt with un­treat­able cir­cu­la­tion is­sues, in­clud­ing in his much-used feet.

His daugh­ter Jane, in a eu­logy, said peo­ple de­scribed her dad as nearly al­ways smil­ing.

Ms McAvoy said she was glad her fa­ther had a peace­ful end to his life. He spent his fi­nal months at Es­tia Health at Ban­nock­burn.

“I doubt that you will be rest­ing in peace though,” she said. “You will be do­ing run­ning drills ‘up­stairs’ try­ing out your new feet.”

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