COMMENT: We all gained from knowing Jamie

GREAT MAN: Jamie Mackenzie was a regular around the local shows, with a passion for his prize-winning jams and preserves.
GREAT MAN: Jamie Mackenzie was a regular around the local shows, with a passion for his prize-winning jams and preserves. Erin Smith

IF THERE was ever a time I could say I didn't enjoy my job, I would say it's a day like today.

It still doesn't feel real to me.

How can a man so proud, so strong-minded and passionate could be here one day and gone the next?

My emotions have gone through a roller-coaster in the past 24 hours - shock, guilt, grief.

I will forever remember Jamie's final words to me in an email on Wednesday.

"I hope you have gained from my experience as a councillor."

Whether you liked his ideas or not, one thing was clear about Jamie - he had a love of the region unrivalled by any other.

Jamie was the epitome of community mindedness.

He was always willing to share his ideas, explain his reasoning and discuss issues with the people.

I feel he was somewhat misunderstood.

His passion was sometimes labelled divisive or political.

In his mind, I don't think Jamie thought that way.

I'll remember Jamie for his fighting spirit, his sense of humour and his jams.

My biggest regret is not putting away my reporter hat and asking Jamie - are you OK? If you're reading this Jamie - and I'm sure you are - I apologise sincerely.

Your passion, personality, ideals and legacy will not be forgotten.

Topics:  editorial editors picks jamie mackenzie southern downs regional council tribute

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