RIP to a champ: run in peace
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.”