Little Pippa Rea loved the beach where she would surf, swim and cartwheel along the sand, so it was fitting that a memorial was placed where she spent much of her childhood.
The 11-year-old Warrnambool girl lost her battle with cancer in March. A blue stone surfboard seat was installed in mid-December at Port Fairy’s East Beach to honour Pippa who lived her life with vigor and enthusiasm.
Mum Virginia Rea said when she was planning Pippa’s memorial service she knew she wouldn’t want to go and visit a plaque or a headstone in a cemetery.
“I knew I wanted something to reflect her love of the beach and I knew that in time it would come to me,” Ms Rea said.
The bluestone seat, which won best in show at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in March, was sitting idle while Bamstone owner Michael Steel looked for a meaningful reason to share it with the community.
As Ms Rea said “in a perfect tribute to Pippa a series of events fell into place” and the seat was installed next to the Port Fairy Surf Lifesaving Club where she was a nipper.
The seat was donated by Michael and Cheryl Steel from Bamstone and a plaque invites people to sit or play on it as Pippa would have.
“Now on East Beach foreshore, in time for the summer holidays, and back dropped by the blue waves and pretty lighthouse on the horizon, sits Pippa’s magnificent bluestone surfboard seat. It’s there in her memory but for everyone to enjoy. Precisely how she would want it.
“We hope that over the summer and forever to come, people can enjoy, play on and photograph Pippa’s seat,” Ms Rea said.
Mr Steel said children were already making the most of the new addition.
“Last weekend, there was 150 or 160 nippers and I reckon they all had a stand on her surfboard,” Mr Steel said.
Mr Steel said there were times in life you could help others and this was one example.
“It’s nice for the family to go somewhere Pippa loved and it’s there forever.
“It’s nice to have (a sculpture) there that represents the children and a young life tragically lost.
“It’s a lovely spot to sit and reflect,” Mr Steel said.