Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack reflect on Former Member for Hinkler Paul Neville's contribution to the region.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack reflect on Former Member for Hinkler Paul Neville's contribution to the region. Mike Knott BUN050119PAUL1

Hundreds gather to farewell former Hinkler MP Paul Neville

NOT a spare seat could be found in the Holy Rosary Catholic Church as hundreds of family, friends, colleagues and community members gathered to farewell former Hinkler MP Paul Neville in Bundaberg today.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, former PM John Howard and current Hinkler MP Keith Pitt were among the crowds mourning the loss of one of the longest-serving parliamentarians in the Wide Bay, who was described as humorous, sincere and with great integrity.

Neville, 78, had been dealing with ongoing health problems and died at Bundaberg Hospital on New Year's Day.

>> READ MORE: Paul Neville was a community advocate until the end

Mr McCormack said there was not a dry eye in the church, not simply because attendees were mourning for Neville, but also because they were reflecting and laughing at the stories and jokes he had shared over the years.

 

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack at Former Member for Hinkler Paul Nevilles funeral in Bundaberg.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack at Former Member for Hinkler Paul Nevilles funeral in Bundaberg. Mike Knott BUN050119PAUL3

"He loved an audience, I think he would have been very pleased with the service," Mr McCormack said.

"There wasn't a spare seat in the church and everybody came to celebrate the life of a great man, a life well lived.

"It was both dignified in the catholic tradition that Paul would have expected, but it also had those elements of Paul that we all knew and loved.

"He was the raconteur, Paul Neville, one of the greatest storytellers you will ever meet."

Mr Pitt said the funeral was a great representation of Neville and what he stood for.

 

PASSING THE FLAME: Paul Neville congratulated Keith Pitt on being elected to represent the Division of Hinkler in 2013.
PASSING THE FLAME: Paul Neville congratulated Keith Pitt on being elected to represent the Division of Hinkler in 2013. Mike Knott BUN270913PTT3

"I think the service was probably a reflection of the man himself, it was dignified, it was passionate and had a touch of humour," Mr Pitt said.

"Paul was a wealth of experience and knowledge, and we drew on that whenever the occasion arose."

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce had tweeted earlier in the day saying he was "heading a good mate's funeral".

"Paul Neville, or more affectionately P-Nev, was a character that made a warmth come into most rooms," he said.

Mr McCormack said he was sure Neville would be looking down with great fondness, and quoted Federal President of The Nationals Larry Anthony in saying he had a heart as big as Phar Lap's, a humour as much as Rowan Atkinson's, the compassion of Mother Teresa, and the tenacity of John Howard.

"Paul always insisted that we showed respect across the chamber, that we always took onboard the views of others and that we made sure we stayed friends right across the political divide," Mr McCormack said.

Earlier this week, Mr McCormack said he had the pleasure of learning from Neville as he sat next to him during his first term of parliament and said "he could not have wished for a better mentor".

>> READ MORE: Deputy PM: 'I couldn't have asked for a better mentor'

 

VALE: Paul Neville passed away on New Year's Day at Bundaberg Hospital
VALE: Paul Neville passed away on New Year's Day at Bundaberg Hospital Max Fleet BUN070416GRAD2

Paul Christopher Neville was the member for Hinkler from 1993-2013 and was well respected by all sides of politics.

"He always said 'When you're a local member, it doesn't matter how high up the tree you go, don't ever forget the little people - Don't ever forget the battlers' and Paul never did," Mr McCormack said.

"Paul Neville, rest in peace."



UPDATE: Elderly woman injured after three-vehicle crash

premium_icon UPDATE: Elderly woman injured after three-vehicle crash

One woman injured, Emergency Services on scene of Bucca crash

OP score cut-offs for every uni course revealed

premium_icon OP score cut-offs for every uni course revealed

Minimum OP scores needed to get into each degree revealed

Dear angry men, Gillette is not worth your rage, but Aiia is

premium_icon Dear angry men, Gillette is not worth your rage, but Aiia is

Don't throw your razors in the toilet, end violence instead