Ambulance officer Sean Dickey (22) was the ‘‘X factor’’ for many Wanaka
teens who took up sailing, his friends and family recalled at Mr Dickey’s
funeral last week.

Sean’s parents Steve and Mei Lian Dickey, and Wanaka’s sailing and St John communities, were supported in their grief by people from all over New Zealand.

Mr and Mrs Dickey paid tribute to the hundreds who turned up at
the Lake Wanaka Centre last Friday to farewell their son, who died in a crash in Christchurch on April 19.

‘‘Thank you for helping us raise such a beautiful man and thank you for coming here to share our pain’’.

‘‘Sean, we love you so very, very much and we are so proud of what you have achieved in your short life … you have brought us much joy.

‘‘We are so proud of the way you have shared your love, passion and
inspiration with those around you … You will live on in those you have
touched,’’ Mr Dickey said.
Mr Dickey said he asked some of Sean’s friends what was the X factor behind so many young people joining the Wanaka Yacht Club and was told ‘‘It’s the Sean factor’’.

Mrs Dickey said the family was ‘‘blown away’’ that people had come
from as far away as Auckland and Invercargill.

‘‘They have used so many beautiful words to describe you and this has
brought us much comfort. As a family we were a team … we enjoyed each other’s company, our discussions were varied and our laughs were
many. We were the dream team … Wherever you are headed they had better watch out. You will shake things up, for sure,’’ Mrs Dickey said.

Described by his friends as mischievous, competitive and kind, Mr Dickey was a talented sailor who enjoyed coaching and mentoring youth.

School mates, flatmates, work colleagues and sailing buddies paid tribute to Mr Dickey’s intelligence, ‘‘great heart’’ and a lifetime of service; the kind of character who when ‘‘not saving lives would get up to shenanigans’’.

New Zealand Team Racing Association spokesman Ross Sutherland, of Auckland, described Mr Dickey as an ‘‘amazing young man’’ who would have been helping officiate at the Cook Islands regatta this year.

After competing at national level in youth sailing, Mr Dickey began coaching, qualified as an umpire and began running regional events.

‘‘I can’t speak highly enough of him. Of 5000 [who have been through the youth sailing programme] there are about five who have given back to the extent Sean has, and Sean would be the top of that group,’’ Mr
Sutherland said.

Mr Dickey had written to St John at the age of five, requesting a cadet unit be set up in Wanaka.

St John National Youth Programme mana ger Kerry Mitchell said despite St John not having got round to formally answering in writing, the unit was created and Mr Dickey was the first member, aged six.

He never left the organisation and several St John colleagues — young and old — said in their eulogies: ‘‘We all knew he was going to be our boss’’.

Mr Dickey was raised and educated in Wanaka.

He moved to Christchurch in 2018 to study engineering and was working full time as a St John ambulance officer in Rolleston when his life was tragically cut short in a collision between two motorbikes, one of which he was riding, and a car.

The ceremony was live streamed to friends and relatives at other venues, including at the Wanaka Yacht Club, in Christchurch, and in Malaysia.

Mr Dickey was buried at Wanaka Cemetery.