Fundraiser hoped to help prevent another tragedy
THE family of 60-year-old Geoffrey Blackadder, who lost his life in the surf at Wooli Beach on Monday, wants to see improved access to the beach to help make it safer.
Devastated by the loss of Mr Blackadder as he tried to help young family members caught in a rip, his family has started a fundraising campaign.
Frances Blackadder, Mr Blackadder's sister-in-law, said the family hopes to raise enough money to cover funeral costs and to help the services who tried to save Mr Blackadder to hopefully prevent future tragedies.
"We need to stop another Geoffrey happening anywhere, at Wooli especially," Mrs Blackadder said.
"When the (emergency service) turns up they can't get down there because there is no access.
"There should be an access road to get to the beach. There is no access for emergency vehicles, they had to winch the doctor down (from the rescue helicopter) to where Geoffrey was.
"It could have been anyone, somebody else's daughter, child, husband."
The family has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Mr Blackadder's funeral, but also plan to use funds to help the first responders.
"We have decided that once we have the money to pay for the funeral, any money left over from that will be halved between the (Westpac) Helicopter and the Wooli lifesavers to help them get whatever they need.
"If we can do something out of a tragedy, it may help someone else in need. We're passionate about trying to help the people get the facilities they need so there isn't another Geoffrey. If we can do that, Geoffrey has saved somebody."
Mrs Blackadder said her brother-in-law was one of of the kindest people she knew.
"Geoffrey was a free, easy going bloke. If you said to him 'look mate I need a hand to do this', he'd go and give you a hand," she said.
"He was just a guy who would do anything for everyone. He just had that free, caring, loving attitude about him."
Mrs Blackadder said it was in his nature to try to save the kids who were experiencing difficulties in the water during their family trip to Wooli on Boxing Day.
"Down at the beach, he said 'come on girls, I'll take you swimming'. He went over and swum between the flags, unluckily they got caught in the rip.
"He made sure he pushed one of those kids on the board and he must have drowned. But he was going to make sure the kids were safe."
"He will be surely missed. Not only by his family but by his friends."
Follow this link to donate to help the Blackadder family, the lifesavers and the Westpac helicopter.