An unparalleled crowd gathered at Walcha Central School to pay respect to the 15-year-old and his family

A moving ceremony was held in Walcha last Saturday to celebrate the short life of Saylem Macquarie Slater, who was killed on August 12 when the motorbike he was riding hit a tree in the Travelling Stock Route on the west side of town.

The tragic accident has rocked the Walcha community, particularly families with children attending Walcha Central School where Saylem was a student.

To allow his fellow students and teachers to join in the celebration of Saylem’s adventurous life with his extended family and friends, the service was held in the school’s large multi-purpose centre – and it was full. 

Saylem’s motorbike and helmet took pride of place at the front of the hall as people came up to say goodbye and pay tribute to the 15-year-old boy.

Many of his classmates wore beanies in an acknowledgement of the teenager’s year-round predilection for the headwear.

Yes we have lost Saylem, but we live in such a netted community that I think we all should feel proud of it.

Kevin McDonald - Saylem's step grandfather

His aunty Bec Slater read out the eulogy and in her conclusion said one of the things that kept coming up for her when she remembered Saylem was how close he was to his five siblings.

“You are all more like best mates, and this sticks out to me because it is rare,” she said.

“There is no jealousy over each other’s achievements only joy over each other’s successes. So stand proud of the amazing relationship you had with Saylem and know what an inspirational little team you are – both to each other and to others.”

Saylem’s step-grandfather Kevin McDonald thanked the local community for its kindness and gifts during the past 12 days.

“It’s just been unbelievable the support we have received from the Walcha community, and it makes me feel proud to be a member of it,” he said.

“Yes we have lost Saylem, but we live in such a netted community that I think we all should feel proud of it.”

Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I'll miss you until we meet again.

From the Order of Service for the thanksgiving for the life of Saylem Macquarie Slater