Kevin Lambert with son Mitchell on grand final day at Byron Bay last year.
Kevin Lambert with son Mitchell on grand final day at Byron Bay last year.

Kevin Lambert was a friend to all

The Billinudgel pub was jam-packed last Friday afternoon when with locals gathered for a wake to celebrate the life of one of their greatest mates and to mourn his untimely passing.

Kevin Lambert, local businessman, sportsman and champion of young people, died last week at the age of 49, just seven months after a diagnosis of cancer.

Prominent amongst the mourners were the many young men in yellow and blue, all the Mullumbimby Giants whose lives had been touched by the man who was their president for several years from the year 2000, and who handed out jerseys to everyone on the great day when the Giants reserves won the grand final in September last year.

Current Giants president, Scott Hogan, spoke of a man who always liked making sure people were looked after, someone who particularly liked helping young people.

“He was pretty much the kind of bloke who, if you needed something, he would do it for you,” said Scott.

“He was always helping young blokes, and gave me a job when I first left school.

“He was a good bloke – a legend I suppose.”

Besides helping all the young men he met through the Giants, Kevin had been heavily involved in Nippers when his children Mitch and Jodi were small, helping out on the beach as well as the constant behind-the-scenes fundraising.

“He was just one of those people you need in the community,” said past member of Nippers Tony Parker, “so community-minded, a man who cared for people, who cared for young people in sport and a good businessman in town – ’Nudgel’ was his turf.

“He was a bloke who liked a punt and a beer, but a family man too, a really decent bloke.”

Daughter Jodi sat at a table in the beer garden with a group of friends, but as they all recalled Jodi’s dad it was as if they were all his daughters.

 “No matter who I brought home,” said Jodi, “he took them in as if they were his own.”

“He looked after us all,” said one friend, with another adding that he had been “a second dad to all the girls” and another that “he didn’t have just one daughter, he had lots”.

“My dad was so cool,” said Jodi in the ultimate tribute of a young girl to her father. “He was our age inside.”

And son Mitchell, halfback for the Giants, said that it was “probably mum, the love for mum” that was the source of his caring nature.

“He was just so always there for anyone who needed him,” he said.

He spoke with pride of a father who not only played sport with his own children and who enjoyed the social side of it, but one who always encouraged other children too, and who was always involved in the organisational side, including on the board of the football club right up until diagnosis.

“He was everyone’s friend,” said Mitchell simply.

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