'A life to celebrate'

MARC Madden's life is being celebrated in schools and churches this week as his family, friends and schoolmates come to terms with its brevity.

The Year 12 John Paul College student died on Saturday afternoon when he was hit by a motorcycle as he was crossing the Pacific Highway at the Bray Street intersection.

Classmates met together yesterday ahead of a whole school assembly and memorial service at John Paul College.

College principal Ian Walton said they had lit a candle in the school chapel which would continue burning for several weeks and they would hold a second service for Marc following his funeral.

"He was an important member of our community, and there are many people here who will miss him," Mr Walton said.

"He touched kids from Year 7 to Year 12. There are a number of Year 7 and 8 kids who are very upset he always had a magic trick or a joke to tell the little fellers.

"He had right-side hemiplegia and he walked with a limp, but he didn't complain about his disability.

"He played lots of sports, including basketball and football, but he was also very gentle.

"He was a role model for students."

Mr Walton said Marc's mother, Karen Madden, was a very strong woman, who had said she wanted everyone to celebrate his life, not mourn his death and she had also asked the school to pray for the man who hit him.

Mrs Madden said yesterday Marc always put his family before himself and his happiness was making others happy.

"He loved the Lord and positively shared his faith by participating in many church activities," Mrs Madden said.

"He loved playing bass guitar in the church band.

"Marc was always the practical joker he was happy-go-lucky, a passionate footballer and never let anything get him down."

Marc was known as Madden but his real name was Marc Taufahema.

With his right-side hemiplegia (a type of cerebral palsy), he also had a degenerative spinal condition, so his achievement in playing football at the level he did was 'a story in itself', his family said.

Marc, who was one of six children, played football last year in the Orara Valley Axemen's under-16s team.

He had recently becoming involved in fashion modelling for local stores.

Marc's older brother Brad, who plays rugby league for the Coffs Harbour under-18s team, left John Paul College last year and a younger sister is still at the school.

Karen Madden and her family attend Coffs Harbour's Calvary Life Assemblies Church, better known as the Blue Cross Church, on the corner of Bruxner Park Road and the Pacific Highway at Korora and Mark's funeral will be held there.

The date and time had not been set before the Coffs Coast Advocate went to press yesterday.

Blue Cross Church Pastor Gary Blackford said Marc's had been 'a life worth celebrating and it had been a privilege to be part of it'.

"He was an amazing young man," Mr Blackford said.

Donations towards the cost of the funeral and other expenses for Mrs Madden and her family can be sent to Mark Madden Fund, c/o Blue Cross Church, PO Box 6148, Park Beach Plaza Post Office. There will also be a donation box at the funeral.

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