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Byron Shire
November 29, 2023

Defibrillator fundraiser launched in Phil’s wake

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Phillip Jones. Photo supplied.

A fundraiser has been established to buy three defibrillators for Byron Bay beaches, after local surfer, Phillip Jones, died after being pulled from the water on Thursday, August 26.

Phillip was 57 years old.

Police say emergency services were called at around 2.10pm to Wategos Beach following reports that an unconscious man had been pulled from the ocean by three surfers.

An off-duty paramedic, together with local police, commenced CPR on Mr Jones before NSW Ambulance paramedics arrived. Despite their efforts, he died at the scene.

Phil’s brother, Paul Jones, told The Echo, ‘Philip, aka Phil, or his preferred Pfrrr, slipped this mortal coil, simply, beautifully off the end of his surfboard into the crystal water of a classic Wategos day’.

Paul said, ‘Phil was the fourth child of Paul and Dorothea Jones, born in Lismore where he came to own and run his father’s steel fabrication workshop.’

Heart condition

Phillip Jones. Photo supplied.

‘Phil’s family were high achieving athletes, particularly in the swimming pool, so it came as a shock to discover a latent heart condition that was notorious for striking down the young and fit, with what was then called sudden death syndrome.

‘After losing his brother Chris to the condition at 37, the family entered a research program that uncovered the genetics and vagaries of a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy or HCM.

‘Sadly, Phil also succumbed last Thursday.

Phillip Jones. Photo supplied.

‘He leaves a son, grandsons, life partner, his mother and extended family, and so many friends of all persuasions. His philosophy of life was to live well, simply, and truly as yourself, and in doing so, he would touch others’, said Paul.

‘A bit of larrikin and quirky humour also helped him on his way. He will be greatly missed around the local traps, on the golf course, in the lineup, and off the rocky cape checking an unsuspecting blackfish for breakfast.

‘The family would like to extend sincere thanks to first responders including fellow surfers, the surfing doctor, paramedics, the police and many concerned locals who selflessly worked to rescue Phil and provide compassionate support’.

The fundraiser was an initiative by Michael Ibrahim (Soul Kitchen Cafe, Rae’s at Wategos), and aims to fund three defibrillators to be placed at three popular beaches: Wategos, The Pass and Clarkes Beach.

Over $10,000 of an $18,000 goal has been raised. To donate, visit https://bit.ly/3mFSNao.

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