More than 80 Crossfit participants have paid an emotional tribute to a young man who gave so much and had “time for everyone”.
Jake Walton was in their hearts as they gathered together at the Dubbo gym where his absence is keenly missed.
The 20-year-old died on February 3 after being pulled unconscious from the Macquarie River near Geurie.
He was well-known and respected throughout the community for his role in the family business, Walton Rural Supplies, as a member of the Dubbo Kangaroos Rugby Club and at CrossFit Dubbo, where he was assistant coach.
CrossFit Dubbo held the Jake Walton Classic on Tuesday in his honour.
Former members of the gym who’d known Jake but had since moved away took part in the event, which was also attended by some of his family members and colleagues.
The event included a workout of the day [WOD] specially designed by CrossFit Dubbo owner Duncan Stephens.
Gym member Kate Wright said they were pleased at the turnout to honour Jake, and the atmosphere was hard to describe.
“It really felt like he was still here,” she said.
A huge 3.5-metre by 2-metre plaque featuring a picture of Jake and a record of some of his achievements and the workout specially designed for the day was also unveiled.
He had friends from all different walks of life, it was so clearly evident people like Jake are few and far between.CrossFit Dubbo gym member Kate Wright
“It’s nice to know he’ll always be here in that way,” Mrs Wright said.
“He’ll never be forgotten.
“It’s here for inspiration.”
Family and friends came together later that morning for Jake’s funeral at St Brigid’s Catholic Church.
Mrs Wright said it was a remarkable being at the funeral hearing the stories about Jake.
“He had friends from all different walks of life, it was so clearly evident people like Jake are few and far between,” she said.
“He never changed for anyone because he didn’t have to.
“He treated everyone equally and he had time for everyone.”
The community’s thoughts remained with the Walton family in their time of grief.
“They’ve lost a son and no one will replace him, but we hope they feel their family has gotten bigger with all the love around now and forever will be,” Mrs Wright said.