A SMILE FOR ALL: Phil Almond will be remembered as a humble guy with a smile for everyone he met.
A SMILE FOR ALL: Phil Almond will be remembered as a humble guy with a smile for everyone he met.

Vale Phillip Almond

THE close-knit Emerald Beach community is this week mourning the loss of one of its own following the tragic passing of Phillip Almond, aged just 47. Known as much for his formidable cycling ability as his megawatt smile, Phil will be remembered as a humble and hard-working man who had time for everyone.

Since moving to Emerald Beach from Sydney with his wife Vanessa in 2003, Phil utilised his carpentry trade to establish himself as a popular and reliable local handyman, becoming an indispensable part of the team at countless Coffs Coast businesses, and a welcome friendly face in the homes of many a local needing a hand.

Phil was a talented and passionate cyclist, drawing accolades for his modest demeanour and natural ability. “I was privileged to watch Phillip win the Masters State Criterium Championship last year in Coffs Harbour,” Cycling NSW CEO Graham Seers said. “A champion rider and a champion person we have lost due to this tragedy.”

A familiar sight strolling the Emerald streets with his two Jack Russell terriers, Phil was a keen animal lover, rescuing numerous ‘mutts’ of varying breeds from shelters over the past two decades, and rarely seen without one of his much-beloved pups by his side.

“I was eight years old when Phil and his wife Vanessa moved in next door,” recalls long time neighbour Jack Nichols. “Over the years, Phil was the best kind of neighbour you could hope for, running from inside his house and into ours when he heard my sister’s screams after placing her hand on a snake in a dark dining room.”

Funeral Director Aaron Logue said the sheer number of calls and emails expressing deep sadness at the loss of Mr. Almond was remarkable. “Phil was beloved by so many in the wider Coffs community,” Mr. Logue said. “Our phones have been ringing non-stop with people wishing to pay their respects. Unfortunately, social distancing restrictions prevent the Almond family from holding a public memorial at this time, however, this will certainly be arranged at a later date.”

As a registered organ donor, Phil’s family is comforted by the fact that his selfless decision and forethought has saved the lives of several critically ill Australians, including a young man suffering from liver failure, and a burns victim requiring skin grafts.

“Death is always expected, but seldom fair. None more so than in this case,” Mr. Nichols adds. “Selfless to the end. Rest in peace to a gentle and generous man who deserved so much longer. My thoughts remain forever with his family, his memory, and his wife Vanessa.”

Phil also leaves behind his brother Kevin, and parents Kathy and Warren.

For more information on organ donation, visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/australian-organ-donor-register

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