Friends and family leave their messages on the coffin of Jarah Blackett at this funeral service.
Friends and family leave their messages on the coffin of Jarah Blackett at this funeral service. Cathy Adams

Loyal friend farewelled

JARAH BLACKETT was a charmer, a fearless warrior and protector, a respectful child who grew into a respectful man, and a cheeky joker who would poke his tongue at you as a way of saying hello.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Byron Youth Activity Centre to farewell the young man who departed their lives so abruptly in the crash that killed him and two of his mates at Ewingsdale last week.

And there must have been nearly as many impressions of Jarah from the friends and family who had come to sing his praises.

However, the common theme that ran through all those sometimes contradictory, sometimes hilarious recollections was the love each of the mourners had for Jarah and the love here turned.

“I'm just overwhelmed,” Jarah's father, Nandano, told the crowd of about 400, who spilled from the centre across the grassy auditorium outside.

“I knew he had lots of friends, but it's just amazing. There are no words to say – to express the grief I feel.”

There were plenty to share that sentiment and to mourn the loyal friend who had been lost.

Several of Jarah's friends and family noted how dedicated he was to looking out for those he befriended.

“Jarah was one of those people who had everyone's back,” one friend told the crowd. “It didn't matter if he had met someone only 10 minutes ago, he would protect them. I hope we can learn from the person he was to stand by your friends.”

There was also humour – such as the time the ‘brave warrior' accepted a dare to skateboard through Mullumbimby naked.

And, in a community that has seen too many of its best and brightest taken on the region's roads, there were also many whose messages of admiration and loss carried an appeal for people to stop drinking and driving (there is no suggestion Jarah or anyone in the car with him last week had been drinking) and to think before they got behind the wheel.

Finally, there was the lesson Jarah imparted to all who knew him: “If there's one lesson we can learn from Jarah's life, it's give love and spread love and expect nothing in return,” a friend said. “He did and he had so much love in return.”

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