NOT even death could stop Echuca’s Phillip Rosenow from giving back.
Phill was known to many in town as the man who rode his 13-year-old motorbike a staggering 16,000km; from Cockle Creek, the most southern part of Tasmania via Alice Springs to the top of Cape Yorke in northern Queensland.
He embarked on the epic journey to raise awareness of organ donation after he was given the gift of life by a nine-year-old boy, known only as ‘Jack’, whose death gave him a new kidney.
But that wasn’t enough for Phill.
After visiting his late father at the Echuca Cemetery, Phill noticed the gates to one entrance of the cemetery were well below par.
Around the same time, Phill toured some locations around the Yarra Valley, including visitng ancestors buried at the Yarra Glen and Diamond Creek cemeteries.
Aside from holding Phill’s buried relatives, the two cemeteries had another similarity — entrance gates donated by Phill’s family members.
Phill had seen what a difference the gates could make to the look and feel of a cemetery and decided to embark on an 18-month journey that culminated in his family unveiling new gates at Echuca Cemetery recently.
Phill found a blacksmith and worked with Echuca Cemetery Trust to design the gates before embarking on his motorbike journey.
After returning home from two months on the road, Phill proudly brought the gates back to Echuca in October, 2017 - just a week before he died.
Phill’s brother John said a plaque recognising the donation would be installed at the cemetery, but for now the gates would serve as a symbol of one man’s vision and desire to give back.
“Sadly, Phill did not live to see the project through. But his family took on the challenge and have proudly completed his vision,” he said. “The gates are a proud donation to the Echuca Cemetery Trust and the Echuca community.”