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Corrections man gets encouragement message from Hadley

HAPPY FAMILY: Jakob, Shania, Marc with daughter Harper, Sheree, Fay and Lyell Duffy.
HAPPY FAMILY: Jakob, Shania, Marc with daughter Harper, Sheree, Fay and Lyell Duffy.

A YEPPOON hospital bed wasn't the place Cawarral father-of-three Lyell Duffy would normally watch his beloved North Queensland Cowboys take to the field.

He strained to watch the match and listen to the commentating as renowned media identity Ray Hadley offered the popular Capricornia Correctional Centre officer a message of encouragement.

A friend of a friend had asked Ray to give Lyell some on air support after the 46-year-old was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma nine-and-a-half weeks earlier.

While Ray told Lyell "the Cowboys are doing well for you", Lyell was fighting his own battle.

Struggling to cling to life, the dedicated family man was surrounded by his own supporters - his wife of 18 years, Fay, sons Marc, 29, and Jakob, 14, and daughter Shania, 16.

Sadly, the keen outdoorsman passed away on Tuesday.

Mirroring the effort of his friends in ensuring he was given an on air message during the last Cowboys' match he would watch, the service also illustrated how many people loved him.

More than 300 people attended the service at the Baptist Tabernacle, with 100 prison officers organising a guard of honour.

"I was just overwhelmed and humbled at the number of people who went to the service," Fay said.

"I'm his wife so I love him... I didn't realise how much everyone else loved him too."

The song Shameless by Garth Brooks was played at the service to commemorate the love he had for his soul mate, Fay.

The day before they were married an early morning game of golf at Rydges turned into a one-man karaoke show as his mates couldn't stop him from singing the song about how shameless he was about his love for Fay.

Yesterday the family were remembering the lighter moments in the life of the man who would always put them before himself.

Fay recounted a Mother's Day many years ago when she, Lyell's mother Helen,a three-year-old Shania and baby Jakob travelled to Brisbane to visit Lyell for a weekend while he was there training.

After having a meal at a restaurant with his favourite girls and son, Shania was devastated to see her father go back to continue his training.

"Oh mummy are we taking daddy back to jail now?" Shania asked Fay.

An embarrassed Fay still can't wipe the looks of the fellow diners from her memory.

"We nearly fainted," she said. "We couldn't say it fast enough - 'we're taking daddy back to work'.

"He was extremely proud of all of his children."

Lyell was the only son of Helen and Geoffrey Duffy and brother of Tracy and Donna.

Topics:  capricornia correctional centre melanoma north queensland cowboys ray hadley



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