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Australia 'Life was great together': Devastated widow weeps at funeral of her husband and father-in-law who perished trying to save their home during a horrific bushfire

17:50  24 january  2020
17:50  24 january  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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' Life was great together ': Devastated widow weeps at funeral of her husband and father - in - law who perished trying to save their home during a The grieving family of a father and son who died on New Year's Eve have paid tribute to their loved ones. Patrick and Robert Salway were killed while

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Ron Lea holding a glass of wine: Patrick (far right) died as the flames advanced and Robert (far left) suffered a fatal heart attack as he installed fire breaks with the blaze closing in© Provided by Daily Mail Patrick (far right) died as the flames advanced and Robert (far left) suffered a fatal heart attack as he installed fire breaks with the blaze closing in

The devastated family of a father and son who died trying to protect their home from a horrific bushfire on New Year's Eve have paid tribute to the well-respected dairy farmers at their funeral.

Patrick, 29, and Robert Salway, 63, were killed while trying to protect their 600-acre home in the tiny farming hamlet of Wandella near Cobargo on New South Wales' south coast.

Patrick's wife Renee openly wept as her husband and father-in-law were laid to rest at Cobargo cemetery as a congregation of 2,000 gathered to pay their respects.

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In heartbreaking scenes for Cobargo, which was ravaged by the massive Badja Forest fire, Mrs Salway laid a photo and a sunflower on Patrick's coffin.

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Robert Salway's wife Janelle meanwhile laid a white rose on her husband's coffin as family and well-wishers comforted each other in their time of grief.

'My darling, life-loving, fun, outgoing Patrick, you filled our lives with laughter and adventure,' Renee told well-wishers on Friday according to The Daily Telegraph.

'Life was great together, perfect in our eyes. I didn't know what it meant to miss you until I reached for your hand and you weren't there.'

Robert was praised by family friend Tony Allen as epitomising ANZAC heroism.

'Every heart is bleeding and will continue to bleed for years to come as a result of those fires,' he said.

Memorial cards for Robert and Patrick held by mourners at the cemetery also remembered proudly the two men.

a group of people standing around each other: Renee Salway is comforted during funeral proceedings at Cobargo cemetery on Friday following the family tragedy - which also saw Robert's sick mother Edna die fewer than 30 hours after her son© Provided by Daily Mail Renee Salway is comforted during funeral proceedings at Cobargo cemetery on Friday following the family tragedy - which also saw Robert's sick mother Edna die fewer than 30 hours after her son a man holding a frisbee in a park: A man carries Patrick Salway's cross in preparation for his and his father Robert's funeral ceremony on Friday© Provided by Daily Mail A man carries Patrick Salway's cross in preparation for his and his father Robert's funeral ceremony on Friday

Patrick's tribute read: 'In loving memory of a life so beautifully lived and a heart so deeply loved.'

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A message next to Robert's photo meanwhile said: 'There are some who bring a light so great to the world, that even after they have gone, the light remains.'

In a tragic further blow to the Salway family, Robert's sick mother Edna died fewer than 30 hours after the father and son were killed by the ferocious blaze.

In a tribute to her husband on the day of his death Renee Salway, while pregnant with the couple's second child, wrote: 'I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will'

'I will see you again Patrick, my best friend. Hope you are up there "fixing things in the stars tonight". Love forever Harley & Me.'

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Renee and the little boy she shared with Patrick had left the property before winds described by on-scene crews as a 'fire tornado' raced through.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Patrick's wife Renee Salway (centre) was pregnant with the couple's second child when he tragically died as the flames advanced on New Year's Eve© Provided by Daily Mail Patrick's wife Renee Salway (centre) was pregnant with the couple's second child when he tragically died as the flames advanced on New Year's Eve a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Janelle Salway is pictured holding the coffin of her son Patrick's coffin as well-wishers watched on© Provided by Daily Mail Janelle Salway is pictured holding the coffin of her son Patrick's coffin as well-wishers watched on

Patrick's brother Timmy Salway told The Daily Telegraph last week he was fighting to protect his own property from the deadly flames when he saw the inferno approach Patrick and Robert's farm.

'I felt numb, I was defending my own property, it was a tornado of fireballs ripping up trees,' he said.

'I heard a roar like never before - it sounded like five jumbo jets - and I looked over the hill at Dad and Patrick's farm… it was a freak of nature, the perfect storm, they had no chance.'

a construction truck parked in a parking lot: Graves are prepared for Patrick and Robert Salway's funeral at Cobargo cemetery on Friday© Provided by Daily Mail Graves are prepared for Patrick and Robert Salway's funeral at Cobargo cemetery on Friday

While Patrick died as the flames advanced, Robert suffered a fatal heart attack as he installed fire breaks with the blaze closing in.

The Salways were earlier this month dealt another devastating blow when fraudsters tried to capitalise on their loved ones' deaths.

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The fundraiser, started the day after the men died, raised almost $4,000 from nearly 60 people before it was reported and shut down.

a woman in a wedding dress: Patrick Salway, 29, pictured with his wife Renee - who was tragically pregnant with their second child at the time of Patrick's death© Provided by Daily Mail Patrick Salway, 29, pictured with his wife Renee - who was tragically pregnant with their second child at the time of Patrick's death

Kellie-Ann Hancock, Patrick's sister, and her husband Dean Hancock learned about the scam from their niece, Megan, whose name had been used to begin the fake campaign.

Mr Hancock reported the scam to New South Wales Police and said those behind the fundraiser 'will be held to account'.

'There will never be a GoFundMe Page issued by this family,' he said.

a person holding a dog posing for the camera: In a tribute to her husband on the day of his death Renee Salway (pictured with Patrick) wrote: 'I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will'© Provided by Daily Mail In a tribute to her husband on the day of his death Renee Salway (pictured with Patrick) wrote: 'I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will'

Mr Hancock told of their heroic actions before they were hit by a fireball in the moments before they were about to leave their property.

'These two heroes were hit by a fireball less than ten metres from the back door of Rob's house, so hard that Patrick was still seated on the four wheeler...On a 260 acre property that had less than 3 acres of bush land,' he continued.

'They were in the final stages of preparing their property before leaving... Rob had been ripping his beloved paddocks up, to remove as much fuel in the path of the fire as he could.

a screenshot of a person: The Salways were earlier this month dealt another devastating blow when fraudsters tried to capitalise on their loved ones' deaths by launching a fake online fundraising campaign© Provided by Daily Mail The Salways were earlier this month dealt another devastating blow when fraudsters tried to capitalise on their loved ones' deaths by launching a fake online fundraising campaign

'As a grass and turf farmer, this would have been his last ditch effort - his final card to play.

'Shortly before 5am, on Tuesday morning, they were gone - Rob in his tractor on one side of the fence, Pat on the bike, the other side - facing each other.

'We are so f**kin' heartbroken!!!

'About 30 hours later, Rob's mother, Nanna Salway, passed away peacefully in Bega, without even knowing about her beloved son and grandson.

'Three generations in 30 hours.'

Microsoft News Australia has partnered with the giving platform Benevity to raise funds for WIRES, BlazeAid, and Taronga Conservation Society. These organisations provide relief for communities and wildlife devastated by bushfires. You can help by donating here, and for the latest news visit Bushfire emergency.


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