Cobargo farewells father and son farmers killed in firestorm

Almost 1000 farewell father and son killed in Cobargo fire

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Mourners gather at the funerals for Robert and Patrick Salway on Friday.

Mourners gather at the funerals for Robert and Patrick Salway on Friday.

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Cobargo farewells two of its favourite sons

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"Life was great together, perfect in our eyes," Renee Salway said as she remembered the life of her husband Patrick - the man she fell in love with the first day they met.

You are my inspiration, my strength and my whole heart. - Renee Salway

Almost 1000 people paid their respects to both Patrick, 29, and his father Robert, 63, at Cobargo Cemetery on Friday, two men known for their sense of humour and caring and welcoming nature.

The inseparable pair were tragically killed while trying to protect their Wandella farm from the New Year's Eve firestorm that tore through the Bega Valley.

"With you you take my heart and my soul. I truly never learned what the words 'I miss you' were before I reached out for your hand and it was not there," Renee said as she wiped away tears.

She described her husband, a sixth generation Bega Valley farmer, as "fun" and "outgoing", with a personality that filled the lives of those around him with "adventure" and "true love".

She spoke of the couple's plans to renew their wedding vows after six years of marriage. A plan tragically cut short.

"You are my inspiration, my strength and my whole heart," she said.

"You will always be my beautiful husband. Thank you for being an amazing father to our beautiful boy."

Patrick loved to spin a yarn all his life. You'd never be able to top his stories. - Friend Daniel Allen

Tears turned to joy as stories and anecdotes from friends and family members were read out by celebrant Janelle Reeve, who is also a family friend.

Robert had lived through droughts and floods, and was close with his children and 20 grandchildren, who he described as "life's greatest blessings".

"He was a man of few words. I can imagine though when he spoke it was worth listening to," Ms Reeve said.

"He was a quiet achiever, who believed your word was sealed with a firm handshake."

Family friend and Bega Valley Shire councillor Tony Allen said the pair will be forever remembered by the community.

"Words cannot adequately portray the hurt, the anger, the frustration, the sense of helplessness, the raw sadness and the loss that's happened here in Cobargo and across Australia these past weeks," Mr Allen said.

"Every heart is bleeding and will continue to bleed for some time."

Another family friend said she could spend "days telling stories about these two buggers", as she held back tears.

Ms Reeve read words written by Patrick's close friend Daniel Allen.

"Patrick loved to spin a yarn all his life. You'd never be able to top his stories," she read.

"Both Robert and Patrick will be so deeply missed, there shoes will be hard to fill in this community. They've touched so many lives, and will leave a massive hole."

A guard of honour was formed as the coffins were carried by family members and employees, Patrick's first angle grinder placed atop his coffin, while Robert's was adorned with his favourite Akubra hat.

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This story appears courtesy of Bega District News

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