Family farewell 'proud and committed' young father

Youth with 'a cheeky smile' was run over

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2013
Joshua Gardiner
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

LAST RIDE: Family members release balloons after the funeral for 17-year-old Joshua Gardiner, killed when he fell asleep on the road.

Joshua Gardiner
Supplied
MISSED: Joshua Gardiner, a laid-back young man with a "cheeky smile".

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Joshua Gardiner will be remembered as "a bit of a hard case" on the outside but a gentle and caring father underneath.

The 17-year-old, from Woodend, died last Thursday after being run over while he slept on Boys Rd, near Rangiora.

He had been at a friend's house and fell asleep on his way home. He was hit by a car about 3.30am.

More than 250 people attended his funeral in Rangiora yesterday, including police officers and members of the Rangiora Community Garden group, where Josh had carried out several stints of community service.

Josh, nicknamed Spud, became a father at the age of 15. Funeral celebrant Justine Thompson - who spoke on behalf of his family - said the arrival of his baby daughter Aliyah forced him to grow up and change his ways.

His family described him as a laid-back young man with a "cheeky smile" and a tendency to have scrapes with the law.

He loved his friends and enjoyed listening to music, playing rugby, skateboarding and BMX.

"Although a very young dad, he took his responsibilities seriously and he did quiet down a bit because he was a proud and committed father," Thompson said.

In her eulogy, Josh's mother Sherilyn said she would miss his "handsome face, cheeky smile and the cuddles I managed to steal".

She would even miss the early hours "knock at the door and the police cars out front".

His sister Toni Kerr said she had hoped to be writing a speech for his 21st birthday, not his funeral. "So I guess I'll have to keep all the funny stories for times when I need a happy thought."

Rap artist Eminem was one of Josh's favourite musicians. Lyrics from his song When I'm Gone were displayed on the funeral handout.

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- The Press

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