After a courageous three-year battle with cancer, Phillip Abbott passed away peacefully on August 4, at his Gerringong home.
Born in December 1962, Phillip was the 11th child for Dorrie and Charlie Abbott of Berry and he spent an idyllic childhood on the family farm in Tindalls Lane.
He attended Berry Primary School and Bomaderry High where he left after Year 10 and commenced a boilermaking apprenticeship with EK & SL Hodges of Berry.
The Abbott family were keen sports people and Phillip was no exception.
He played cricket for Berry in junior and senior grades and took home many club awards for bowling, batting and as an allrounder.
At age 17 he won the batting average for the Shoalhaven third grade competition. He later progressed to second grade scoring an unbeaten 120 in a match against Bomaderry.
He was a keen indoor cricketer and darts player, competing in competitions around the Shoalhaven.
Phil also grew up playing rugby league for his beloved Berry Magpies, starting in the Under 8s and rising through the ranks to first grade. During his years in the senior grades he played alongside four of his brothers.
As an Under 18 player he would often be called on to back up for Reserves and then First Grade, playing in the back line. A minute's silence in his memory was observed at a recent first grade match at Berry Showground.
In recent years he enjoyed playing Golden Oldies Rugby, with Shoalhaven Heads Aged Gentleman (SHAGS), travelling with the team to World Cups in Brisbane and Sydney.
Touch football was another of Phillip’s loves and he was a capable player. He became a competent referee and over the years refereed for Berry, Gerringong, Bathurst and Kiama Touch, as well as at Junior and Senior State Cups.
He was bus driver and referee for the Kiama High Girls' touch team from 2002 – 2007 and saw his daughters, Jenna and Kimberley, win two State titles with that team.
Phil was also involved in the community and was a volunteer with the Berry Rural Bush Fire Brigade and coached junior cricket at Berry.
He joined the Berry Rotaract Club and was awarded “Rotaractor of the Year” for his contribution to the club’s community works and fundraising events.
He became a junior cricket coach with Gerringong and Age Manager at Nippers.
Although he had no sons of his own, he coached a Gerringong junior league team for three years before he switched his coaching and umpiring skills to the hockey field, guiding Gerringong Women’s Division 2 to a premiership in 2005.
He was awarded “Club Person of the Year” in 2001.
When he died, Phil held the position of Operations Co-ordinator at the Sydney Academy of Sport at Narrabeen, the training base for the Manly Sea Eagles, Australian Rugby Sevens and the NSWRL Academy.
He was responsible for the management and maintenance of a diverse range of sporting and accommodation facilities within the Academy complex.
His strong work ethic saw him recognised with the NSW Department of Sport and Recreation’s ‘Client Service Award’ in 2010.
He is survived by his wife and partner of more than 30 years, Sharon, daughters Jenna Purcell, Kimberley and Carly, son-in-law Ben, grandchildren Mia, Sophie, William, mother Dorrie, 11 siblings and their families.