Tributes flow in Moree from a distance in COVID-19 time

Many friends of Barb Glennie were unable to attend a memorial service so they observed social distancing rules with a car guard of honour.
Many friends of Barb Glennie were unable to attend a memorial service so they observed social distancing rules with a car guard of honour.

They lined the road with white cars in a guard of honour for the funeral of Moree stalwart "Barb" Glennie, the only way they could do it in the age of funeral restrictions and social distancing.

It was a unique bush farewell and tribute to a woman who had made a real difference to her community.

The cars came from everywhere to line up near Gingham Road, just outside Moree.

With a person who had made so many contacts in her life, it was sad for her widower Peter Glennie to be unable to ask everyone to attend the funeral.

At one stage in NSW, only 10 people could attend a funeral. On May 15 that changed to 20 mourners inside and 30 for outside funerals. As of June 1, 50 mourners are allowed.

The mourners line up in their cars as a tribute to Barb Glennie near her home at Norwood, outside Moree. Photo by Craig Estens.

The mourners line up in their cars as a tribute to Barb Glennie near her home at Norwood, outside Moree. Photo by Craig Estens.

"It's part of the grieving process to get together, so I know how hard it was for everyone," Peter Glennie said.

Instead, the Glennie family held a private service in their garden at Norwood, a cotton farm, and then the hearse passed by the guard of honour on its way to the crematorium at Inverell.

"It was just a complete accident that almost all the cars were white and four-wheel drives," Peter said.

Up in the air, Craig Estens did a fly over in his light plane. The guard of honour was partly organised by Barb's great friend and neighbour, Lee Estens.

Lee and Barb both famously drove the Moree entry in the Variety Bash rally in their 'Moree Grand Champion' car.

Barb, who died aged 69 on May 13, did five Variety bashes with Lee, part of the $1 million fundraising effort by the Moree car over 15 years that has provided medical equipment for children to Moree health services.

"She was a practical packer," Lee said of Barb's ability to be ready for the long trips on the rally road.

Lee Estens with her Variety bash car with her great mate Barb Glennie, at right, handing over more support to the Moree Health Service in 2017.

Lee Estens with her Variety bash car with her great mate Barb Glennie, at right, handing over more support to the Moree Health Service in 2017.

Lee said Barb was one of the most energetic people she had met. She always did a Sunday bike ride and did pilates, yoga, body balance and went on ski trips.

She survived breast cancer only to be struck down by leukaemia, a shock to everyone who knew her.

In her last few months of life, she was able to return to Norwood from St Vincent's Hospital during lockdown to be with her family, including her three daughters and their partners, and help some of her nine grandchildren with home schooling.

Barb was involved in everything including drama, upholstery, film, art, sowing, gymnastics, special needs, agriculture, cottongrowers, Moree show, school, and hospital support groups and societies.

"We have so many memories of her. We miss her so much," Lee said.

Lee just had to defy Barb's last wish not to have any flowers sent to her funeral.

"I built a wreath of flowering cotton shrubs for her."

This story 'Iso' bush mourners park cars in guard of honour at farm first appeared on The Land.