Wayne Richards | Touched a future generation

FROM bridges and parks to mountains and lakes their names live on, but have you ever wanted to know more about the people behind the place names across the Mid North Coast.

Wayne Richards Park is located along Koala Street, Port Macquarie, and features several playing fields, a stadium, car parking and even a mountain bike track.

But who was Wayne Richards and why is the park (and a generous sporting scholarship) named in his honour?

In various roles from much-loved teacher to well-respected mayor he touched a future generation of Port Macquarie residents.

Mr Richards was a past president of the teachers federation in Port Macquarie, a founding member of the hospital action group and a long-standing teacher at Port Macquarie High School.

He was elected to Hastings Council in 1995 and became mayor in 1998 and brought to the role his passion for youth and sport.

But after just five years in the role he passed away at the age of 53 after battling Lymphoma.  He had been undergoing chemotherapy at Royal North Shore Hospital but returned to Port Macquarie where he passed away peacefully with his family by his side.

On the job - Wayne Richards was elected to Hastings Council in 1995 and became mayor in 1998

On the job - Wayne Richards was elected to Hastings Council in 1995 and became mayor in 1998

He was farewelled in a touching service held at St Agnes Catholic Church and the cross-section of the community there to celebrate his life was a testament to how widely he was respected.

He taught and equipped us with everything we need to become outstanding men. We have no excuses.

A letter from Wayne Richards' sons read at his funeral

Hastings councillors and staff; mayors of surrounding local government areas; sporting and community organisation representatives; and teaching colleagues and students along with police and politicians packed the church with many forced to listen to the service outside.

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In delivering a eulogy family friend Brian Judd said it was fitting the service be held in Port Macquarie on a Saturday as the day was all about football, horse racing and community events and added: "Wayne gave so much of his life to Port Macquarie."

His wife Christine and sons Luke, Damon and James had learned to share him with the community.

In a letter read by son Damon, Christine said Wayne was her best friend.

"I'm grateful for the 33 years we shared. In later years we had to share you with others... You are my light. Love Christine."

Cr Richards' sons wrote him a letter that Damon shared at the service.

"We feel it's important people realise he was more than a great teacher and mayor.  He was the best father a son could ever have.

"He taught and equipped us with everything we need to become outstanding men. We have no excuses.  He left us at his peak - that's how we will remember him."