Young man en­riched many lives

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS -

About a month ago a 15-year-old sit­ting on the other side of the world was feel­ing glum and started a Face­book page – Bring Back Hamish Ba­gley – in the hope his Ar­row­town-based mate would visit and brighten his world.

Hamish had ef­fect on people.

Last week the name was changed to RIP Hamish Ba­gley af­ter the pop­u­lar snow­boarder died in a fiery car crash in the Lindis Pass, three days be­fore his 18th birth­day.

On Satur­day more than 1000 people at­tended his fu­neral to re­mem­ber a funny, tal­ented, pas­sion­ate, com­pas­sion­ate, cheeky young man whose hu­mil­ity and friend­ship had touched thou­sands world­wide.


His fa­ther Roy said he taught Hamish to ski when he was 2 or 3 but it was when older sis­ter Francesca de­cided to be a ‘‘cool skater chick’’ and bought a skate­board that his son dis­cov­ered a new pas­sion.

‘‘Sev­eral skate­boards later his talent was recog­nised by the lo­cal ski shop Alta and he be­came a spon­sored rider,’’ Mr Ba­gley said.

The man­ager of Alta than talked him into giv­ing Hamish a go on a snow­board.

‘‘Hamish took to it like a duck in wa­ter.’’

His in­struc­tors of­ten spoke of his nat­u­ral abil­ity but he was also a hard worker. At 12 he was na­tional age group cham­pion and joined the na­tional de­vel­op­ment squad with Sochi in his sights.

He spent five back-to-back win­ters train­ing, cul­mi­nat­ing in his 10th place at the World Youth Olympics in Aus­tria, in 2012.

Away from com­pet­ing he was re­mem­bered as a lov­ing, hum­ble fam­ily mem­ber and friend.

Adored by his older sis­ters Laura and Francesca, he spe­cialised in wind­ing them up but was ‘‘the piece of the puzzle that con­nected us all to­gether – the baby that we all adored and loved’’, Francesca said.

‘‘I can’t be­lieve how many lives you touched. To me you were just my goofy lit­tle brother.’’

Mr Ba­gley said he was com­forted that Hamish had his pre­cious pet dog Tommy, ‘‘your great wee mate’’, who per­ished with him, to keep him com­pany.

The pair were of­ten seen on brother-in-law Chris’s scooter rid­ing around Ar­row­town with

The stick­ered cof­fin of Hamish Ba­gley, com­plete with snow­board bind­ings for han­dles. Tommy perched han­dle­bars.

Hamish was re­mem­bered as a young man who paid great re­spect to his Nel­son-based grand­par­ents, al­ways call­ing to see them on his way home from over­seas train­ing. When he was named Snow Sports New Zealand emerg­ing talent of the year he gave the keep­sake tro­phy to his grand­par­ents. On


the the weekend they re­turned it.

One fam­ily he lived with while train­ing in the United States wrote of ‘‘the kind­est man I have ever known’’.

Alec Sav­ery spoke of their shared joy of skate­board­ing and swim­ming in their jocks.

‘‘Hamish said we could sleep when we died. I thought that summed him up.’’

Say­ing it all:

Hamish Ba­gley

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