Brother tells mourners tale of hope
There was no more poignant moment at the funeral of Lieutenant Sam Scott at Linton Military Camp than when his younger brother spoke.
Liam Scott had quietly written a personal diary when his brother was lying in hospital in the days after he suffered the head knock that finally took his life.
Sam Scott, 21, died last Wednesday in Wellington Hospital after taking a blow to the head while playing a social game of rugby league at the camp the previous Friday. His father, Andrew, and mother, Louise, stood by their youngest son as he spoke yesterday.
"Liam, only 17, gave such an eloquent speech; I was so proud of him, about how much he loved him and wanted him to live," Andrew Scott said.
"It had been so sad at the end because there had been so much hope."
Scott said it was spine-tingling to see the Linton conference centre jam-packed, to hear the haunting beat of the single drum as they were slow-marched in behind the coffin to farewell their son.
The military part of the funeral also included an honour guard of Sam's fellow soldiers, the three-volley salute over the casket from the firing party and finally the haka. Six of his best army mates were the pallbearers, all stoic despite the emotion of it all.
"We gave him a great sendoff, although we'd rather have him here," Andrew Scott said.
Long-time family friend and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae delivered a tribute.
"I think he was Sam's inspiration to enter the army," Scott said.
Even Mateparae and the army top brass were impressed when they saw the videotape of a March-Out in 2012, an elite marching display by new recruits trained by Sam and his unit's non-commissioned officers.
Sam's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Brett Stott, read out Sam's impressive performance record. From Palmerston North Boys' High School, one of Sam's former masters when he started school, Justin Doolan, spoke, as did former rector Tim O'Connor, who had come from Auckland.
All of Sam's cousins went forward in a show of support, as did his soldier comrades.
To support each other, Louise and Liam will accompany Andrew to India in the next few days where he is to help prepare the national equestrian eventing team for the Asian Games in South Korea.