Mitch Gillam 26th July 1990 - 8th December 2010
If wealth is measured in friendships, Mitch Gillam is a millionaire! This is his story...
Mitch Gillam was born on 26th July 1990 to parents Ken and Sue, and younger brother to Tarli. Two years separate brother and sister, however, as they travelled through life their loving friendship and the friendships within their social groups became intertwined and special. The pair shared many passions together; family, fitness, sports, friends and, later in life, cruisers, dares and fun. Mitch loved his extended family and both sets of grandparents were special to him. The Gillam/Gebert family unit was strong, connected and the basis for a healthy, happy childhood.
For the first two years of his life the family lived in a caravan in the goldfields community of Laverton.
In 1992 they moved to Kojonup. Summers in the great southern town were spent roaming every corner of the countryside playing in numerous tennis tournaments; winters driving, chipping and putting his way from golf course to golf course. It was clear from an early age that Mitch had a very keen eye when it came to bat/ball sports. However, it was his love for anything in, on or under the water, predominantly water skiing, where it became apparent that Mitch had an unbelievable will to achieve. When he decided he wanted to master something he became obsessed. He practised and practised and then practised even more. Whether it was tricks with a golf club and ball, acrobatics on kneeboards, BMX and motor bikes or even wheelchair stunts. His mother often commented that if he had concentrated as much on his schoolwork as he did perfecting his box of tricks he would have been a Rhodes Scholar. Mitch's performances often provided entertainment at family events and then later his party tricks were legendary at many teenage gatherings.
In 2000 the family relocated to Perth and Mitch attended West Leeming Primary, Leeming High and completed his last three years of education at Aquinas College. It was during these early Leeming days that Mitch's appetite for football and cricket exploded. He proudly played his entire junior football years for Bullcreek Leeming Sharks, a team that rarely won on field but off field shared passion and camaraderie second to none. Mitch's proudest achievements were being awarded the Simon Black medal in 2007, representing Aquinas College in the first 18 football team and representing East Fremantle Football Club in a number of squads.
Cricket was a summer passion. A specialist wicketkeeper and predominantly an opening batsman, Mitch thrived on the pressure and relished the challenge. The Willetton Junior Cricket Club presented Mitch with its Junior Cricketer of the Year award in 2007 after captaining his club team to victory in the grand final.
Mitch was never one to suffer just bruises, sprains or tears. His injuries included a total shoulder reconstruction at 16, and then following a gruelling rehabilitation period, a knee reconstruction as a 17 year old. His dedication never wavered. To give up was not in his nature.
Mitch loved and treasured his school days. Aquinas College provided a huge array of challenges for Mitch. He was well respected by his teachers and fellow students. School pride and an unrivalled bond between brothers being the reason 12 Aquinas boys had the symbolic "AC07" tattooed to the inside of their bicep on the last day of year 12. Mitch's reason for doing so – "Because these were the best days of my life and I never want to forget them."
Initially the transition to the workforce was tough however life as an apprentice electrician was good. Mitch formed a strong relationship with his boss, Craig Baker and a special bond between the two developed. A bond built on similar interests and personalities, mutual respect and humble appreciation.
Mitch's quiet, unassuming nature, good looks and kind heart made him popular with girls. However, the one special relationship in his heart was with Emily Thompson.
Mitch moved to Kalgoorlie at the start of 2010 to continue his apprenticeship with Hahn Electrical. Life in Kalgoorlie, living away from home for the first time was brilliant. He thrived in the sports mad, hard living, tough goldfields town. It didn't matter that his cricket clothes were never washed because freedom was bliss. Life was all about working hard, playing sports with your mates and backing the one dog. Although Mitch only played for Railways Football Club for one season he became a passionate "RED LEG". He also loved striding out to the middle of Sir Richard Moore Oval, bat tucked under his arm, wearing his GB's (Great Boulder) cricket cap, thriving on the pressure, enjoying the moment.
The holiday island of Bali was close to Mitch's heart. He spent many holidays winning competitions at The Dynasty Hotel and, of course, learning to barter hard at the local markets. It was during an end of season football trip to Bali, in December 2010, that he was fatally injured in a scooter accident. Mitch was found by Istri Agung, a deeply religious woman, who lovingly cared and prayed for the 20 year old after pulling his body from a rice paddy waterway, and who strongly believes that he chose them. The Gillams, Geberts, Agungs and all friends of Mitch now share one special bond…FRIENDSHIP. The love from the Agung family, who treat Mitch as their own, is to be seen in the offerings that he receives daily, and in true Mitch style he is still being fed, watered, loved and worshipped.
Mitch has taught us to cherish our family and friends for who they are. Love and respect each relationship for we never know how long we have with each friend. However, most importantly, to smile, live in the moment, laugh, be crazy and truly have fun!