Standing in front of his coffin with his helmet on her head, tiny Charlotte O’Dwyer heard her firefighter dad Andrew left because he was a hero.
Standing in front of his coffin with his helmet on her head, tiny Charlotte O’Dwyer heard her firefighter dad Andrew left because he was a hero.

Heartbreaking scenes at firey’s funeral

Firefighters have formed a guard of honour to farewell volunteer Andrew O'Dwyer who's been remembered as a proud NSW Rural Fire Service member whose greatest achievement was his young daughter.

Mr O'Dwyer, 36, died in December when his fire truck rolled while battling the large Green Wattle Creek blaze near the town of Buxton.

A requiem mass was held on Tuesday for the fallen firefighter at Our Lady of Victories in Horsley Park, the suburb where his RFS brigade is based. Hundreds of family, friends and RFS members filled the church as tributes flowed for the young father.

Charlotte O'Dwyer. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Charlotte O'Dwyer. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, state Emergency Services Minister David Elliott and federal Labor MP Chris Bowen were among the mourners.

RFS volunteers and representatives from other emergency service agencies formed a guard of honour as Mr O'Dwyer's casket was carried into the church with some saluting and others putting their hand on their heart.

 

RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons choked up as he addressed Mr O'Dwyer's young daughter Charlotte.

Charlotte should know her father was a selfless and special man, who only left because he was a hero, the commissioner told the congregation.

Wearing a white dress with her hair in pigtails, the toddler at one stage touched her father's casket before she wandered up to the pulpit during the service.

 

Melissa, Charlotte and Andrew O’Dwyer. Picture: Facebook
Melissa, Charlotte and Andrew O’Dwyer. Picture: Facebook

Errol O'Dwyer said farewelling his son was the hardest thing he ever had to do.

Mr O'Dwyer described his son as a free spirit who lived in the present and whose greatest achievement was his daughter.

Funeral procession arrives for the start of RFS Firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer’s funeral. Picture: Chris Pavlich
Funeral procession arrives for the start of RFS Firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer’s funeral. Picture: Chris Pavlich

Volunteer Geoffrey Keaton, 32, was killed in the same crash and was remembered at a separate service last week.

A heartbreaking photograph of Mr Fitzsimmons pinning a medal on Mr Keaton's 19-month-old son Harvey made headlines across the globe.

 

 

 

Her father, Andrew O’Dwyer, was killed in a crash with his colleague Geoffrey Keaton. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Her father, Andrew O’Dwyer, was killed in a crash with his colleague Geoffrey Keaton. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Charlotte O'Dwyer was told about her selfless father. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Charlotte O'Dwyer was told about her selfless father. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny leave the funeral. Picture: Chris Pavlich
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny leave the funeral. Picture: Chris Pavlich
Charlotte O'Dwyer received her father’s service medal. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Charlotte O'Dwyer received her father’s service medal. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Errol O'Dwyer (left), Melissa O'Dwyer (in black) and young daughter Charlotte. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Errol O'Dwyer (left), Melissa O'Dwyer (in black) and young daughter Charlotte. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP