HATS OFF TO STEVE AN­DREW

Air­lie Beach com­mu­nity pays its trib­ute

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

WHEN the Air­lie Beach com­mu­nity comes to­gether to cel­e­brate Steve An­drew’s life, one thing is cer­tain.

There will be mu­sic in the air.

Steve “the hat” An­drew, as he was af­fec­tion­ately known, lost a mer­ci­fully short bat­tle with can­cer on Satur­day night.

But not be­fore mak­ing his mark, both on the Air­lie Beach live mu­sic scene and in the wider com­mu­nity.

Born on Jan­uary 23, 1961 in Corn­wall, Eng­land, Steve was just three years old when his fam­ily moved to Syd­ney, Aus­tralia.

It was 2004 when he ar­rived in Air­lie Beach to buy the busi­ness ‘Whit­sun­day Gar­den World’.

His sons Ol­lie, 27, and Liam, 24, said the GFC wasn’t kind to their dad, but in true “Steve the hat” style he didn’t let it get him down.

“No mat­ter what was thrown at him he’d make the most of what he had – and it wasn’t about what you had, it was who you were and what made you happy,” Liam said.

And one of the things that made Steve happy was mu­sic.

Steve, who was par­tic­u­larly fond of blues and roots, could of­ten be seen in an Air­lie Beach bar play­ing har­mon­ica with a local band, or sim­ply sit­ting on the side­lines sup­port­ing up and com­ing local tal­ent.

His trade­mark white Panama hat be­came a reg­u­lar fix­ture at local gigs and the an­nual Air­lie Beach Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic.

House mate and Whit­sun­day pho­tog­ra­pher An­drew Pat­tin­son said the mu­sic fes­ti­val am­bas­sadors, who Steve had helped co-or­di­nate, would now wear white hats in his hon­our.

Air­lie Beach Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic founder Gavin But­lin said a “Steve the hat” tro­phy would now be awarded to the win­ner of each year’s Bat­tle of the Bands adding, “he lived for mu­sic and he’ll be dearly missed”.

Oth­ers in the com­mu­nity pay­ing trib­ute to Steve and his con­tri­bu­tion to their lives are mem­bers of the Whit­sun­day Foot­ball Club, for whom he was a for­mer goal keeper and qual­i­fied ref­eree.

Whit­sun­day FC pres­i­dent Steve Tween said clubs from as far afield as Rock­hamp­ton who had heard of Steve’s pass­ing had sent con­do­lences.

“Steve was a very well re­spected ref­eree who took no non­sense from play­ers on ei­ther side and wasn’t afraid to is­sue red cards when war­ranted,” he said.

“More re­cently he be­came a match day an­nouncer and MC for our so­cial events – and we at Whit­sun­day FC knew Steve as ‘story Steve’ not ‘Steve the hat’ be­cause he al­ways had a story to tell rel­e­vant to the par­tic­u­lar game we were watch­ing.”

Mr Tween said a minute’s si­lence would be held in Steve’s hon­our at Whit­sun­day FC’s home games this Satur­day.

A cel­e­bra­tion of Steve’s life will be held at the Whit­sun­day Sail­ing Club this Sun­day at 11am.

“We’re go­ing to have a big party for him be­cause mu­sic was his life,” Ol­lie said. “He wouldn’t want us sit­ting there cry­ing over him. He’d want us to re­mem­ber him as the per­son he was.”

PHOTO: SHIRLEY WODSON

Steve ‘the hat’ An­drew.

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