The cool morning air and sunlight greeted the Dragon Flyers at the small bay outside Clare Holland House on Saturday 6 May 2017.
It was a time to honour a team mate who had shared so much of herself with them for over eight years.
Sue Caitcheon and her family watched as two boats of Flyers paddled and cheered from the water. It was the last time Sue would see her team mates.
In 2009, bitten by the dragon boat bug, Sue jumped from the Canberra Imaging Group corporate crew into the Dragon Flyers. She soon found her feet and the Flyers knew Sue’s big heart on and off the water was what set her apart. Her attitude to paddling and life was the same. She gave her all.
In 2010, ready to take things up a notch after the Adelaide Nationals, Sue competed with the Flyers in Macau at the Club Crew World Championships (CCWC) and again in 2012 in Hong Kong, her second Flyers CCWC tour.
Sue competed with the Flyers at Nationals from 2011 to 2015 and represented the ACT in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. Her unstoppable energy was key to what she achieved on and off the water. As merchandise coordinator, Sue helped the then CDBA deliver its highly successful 2011 Nationals.
Sue was always there, always working behind the scenes, always giving. It wasn’t surprising when she received the 2014 Dragon Flyers President’s Award for her achievements, described by President Ian Cooper as above and beyond.
Then in April 2016, Sue’s fighting spirit and the love that surrounded her, helped her cope with the terrible diagnosis of stage 4 cancer. She remained firmly in the Flyers circle, her smile and laughter lit up the room whenever she joined them off the water.
Sadly, cancer took away Sue’s mobility, her independence and eventually, her life.
But as was Sue’s way, throughout it all, she gave life her all.
Her generous spirit and ability to give in so many ways will always remain in the hearts and minds of the Flyers.
Vale Sue Caitcheon.
Afterglow by Helen Lowrie Marshall was read at the celebration of Sue’s life.
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways
Of happy times
And laughing times
And bright and sunny days
I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun
Of happy memories I leave behind
When day is done.