Mourners gather to remember Michael
By EMMA CORNFORD
IT WAS through music and reminiscing that Michael Beck- man was remembered yester- day at the Uniting Church in Grafton. The funeral service was packed with family and friends who knew the 34-year-old ? a kind-hearted man who had battled with schizophrenia since being diagnosed at age 21. Mr Beckman died recently as a result of serious head in- juries he sustained before be- ing found unconscious in Do- bie Street on May 26. The manner in which he received the injuries is not clear. As mourners filed into the church yesterday to the sound of 'Tears in Heaven', the ser- vice became a celebration of Mr Beckman's life. "He was the kind of guy that if you passed in the street he'd never look the other way, he'd always stop and say hello. He'd make any- one feel welcome ? that was the kind of guy he was," life- long friend Mathew Martin said during the eulogy. "Although I'll never be able to comprehend his true strug- gle . . . he always extended such acts of love, compassion and kindness ? and that's what we remember." Uncle Kel Austen also spoke of Mr Beckman's caring heart and kind nature. "It became clear, in the weeks after his accident, that he was loved and cared for by so many people," said Mr Aus- ten, before recalling some of Mr Beckman's cheekier child- hood activities. "It was so obvious how much love people had for him
and how much love he gave in return. "Go in peace, Michael. We love you and and we always will. You're now with God." During the service, Mr Beck- man's brother Steve sat with their mother Lee Hall, arm comforting around her shoul- ders. In the weeks after the accident, Ms Hall spent every day by her other son's Gold Coast hospital bed. Ms Hall is well known and liked in Grafton, particularly through the Roches Hotel so-
cial club where she is secre- tary. As such, the group has decided to hold a fundraiser to help during a tough time.
"She is the driving force be- hind the social club (and) has always been very, very sup- portive of everyone else and well-liked ? so we're doing something for her," said club president, Gary Marshall.
A trivia night will be held at Roches on August 23 and raffle tickets are currently be- ing sold around town.