KwaZulu-Natal - South African Olympian Burry Stander was laid to rest on Thursday, less than a week after he died in an accident while out cycling near Shelly Beach on the South Coast.
“We will love you, we will miss you, and you will always cycle in our hearts for ever,” his brother Duane Stander, said in his eulogy to mourners at the Norwegian Settlers Church in Port Shepstone.
Netball SA president Mimi Mthethwa, Olympic Committee president Patrick Hlongwane and Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis were among those who paid their respects.
Pictures and videos of Stander were shown on television screens inside the church.
Most mourners were dressed in white, following a request that they do so by Stander's wife, Cherise, who said it was her husband’s favourite colour. Some wore sports shoes as a sign of respect for the cycling star.
His family arrived in one group, with
Duane delivering the tribute to his brother, saying death was another path – a quote from The Lord of The Rings.
“We will remember Burry. We must continue riding our bikes for health, fitness, racing or personal reasons and enjoy.”
He told Cherise that “no one could bear what she was going through”.
Duane said he had gone through his brother’s stuff this week and found a notebook Stander had written in when he was 11.
He wrote: “I will one day like to be a pro biker. I would like to win the World Cup. I would like to race for a great team.”
The three boxes had been ticked and his brother had achieved his dreams.
Stander’s family, seated in the front row, consoled each other as they wept throughout Pastor Trevor Downham’s sermon.
Cherise said, in a letter read out by friend Justin Porteous: “He had a big heart, inspired people to be positive, and will be remembered for his good personality.”
Bobby Behan, a member of Stander’s Specialized Cycling team, said he would always remember Stander as an exceptional racer.
A Cycle For Life awareness programme would be launched in April, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said through his spokesman, Paene Galane, on Thursday.
“We want more cycling lanes, and discussions are under way for the 1.5m passing rule,” Galane said. - The Mercury