Jarryd Lee Archer was an unforgettable young man with a big heart who gave his time to many struggling communities during his short life.
Jarryd, 21, from Rushworth tragically drowned while swimming in Waranga Basin on Saturday.
His uncle and adopted father Paul Archer said Jarryd overcame early life challenges to become a well-mannered, hard-working young man with a wide circle of friends.
‘‘He was so polite, he would help anyone. He had a big heart and loved having fun with his mates,’’ Mr Archer said.
Jarryd’s mother was Mr Archer’s sister who died when Jarryd was four months old.
Mr Archer said he and his wife Barb became father and mother to young Jarryd who spent his childhood travelling with them across Australia.
‘‘He was very much loved by his mother Barb — she will miss him terribly,’’ Mr Archer said.
A car radiator repairer, Mr Archer said his work took the family to various places including Koonawarra, Cairns, Darwin, Katherine and Adelaide before settling in Rushworth about 15 years ago.
Mr Archer said Jarryd attended Ardmona Primary School and McGuire Secondary College and despite battling ADHD, dyslexia and anxiety problems was never short of friends.
‘‘He was amazing, he just connected with other kids — especially other kids with ADHD,’’ he said.
‘‘He knew a lot of people — once you met him you never forgot him,’’ Mr Archer said.
Shepparton’s Natrad owner Mr Archer is well-known for his charitable work, including fundraising efforts for the Give Me 5 For Kids Appeal.
Over the past eight years he has raised more than $225000 by collecting car batteries across Victoria and selling them for scrap and donating money to the appeal.
Mr Archer said Jarryd had spent months travelling with him delivering animal and pet supplies to communities affected by the Black Saturday fires in 2009 and the Grantham and Toowoomba floods of 2011.
‘‘We did a lot of things — he was in everything. He was a good worker. He did his bit for Australia,’’ Mr Archer said.
He said Jarryd worked at Tatura Abattoirs for three to four years, and had been working as a house re-stumper before he died.
He said Jarryd drowned after diving into a fast-flowing channel at Waranga Basin.
‘‘He would have done it a hundred times before, he knew it well,’’ he said.
Mr Archer criticised signage at the site where Jarryd drowned.
‘‘It’s just a very small sign saying ‘No Swimming’ — it should be much bigger.’’
He said Jarryd would be remembered by his friends and family including two sisters at a funeral service in Rushworth tomorrow.
‘‘He was a well-loved boy — you’ll see what I mean tomorrow,’’ Mr Archer said.
A funeral cortege will leave Kyabram’s Clive Coventry Funerals at noon tomorrow, travelling past Waranga Basin to arrive at St Paul’s Anglican Church in High St, Rushworth for the service at 2pm.