Doug Fernihough’s passing has rattled Northam.
Not only because the town is such a tight knit community, and everyone knew Doug and his family and friends, but because of the way his life was taken.
The 57-year-old Northam man was working at a mid-week race meeting at the Northam Race Club when he was struck by lightning, and suffered a heart attack and internal injuries on November 16, 2017.
Doug’s niece, Lee Fernihough, said he was initially unresponsive but was then revived and rushed to Royal Perth Hospital in a critical condition.
She said he held on for a week. “Typical to his nature, Doug put in a good fight, however, was unable to win,” she said. “Doug passed away on November 22, surrounded by his loved ones.”
Lee said her partner who worked in the racing industry started to get enquiries from people who wanted to donate money to the family.
She decided to create a fundraising website page for her aunty Pauline and sons Douglas and Kevin, so Doug’s immediate family would not have to work for the meantime and could focus on grieving.
Lee described Doug as a “loving husband, wonderful father and grandfather, beloved brother, cherished uncle and loyal friend” on the fundraising page.
Pauline Fernihough, who married Doug 13 years ago, had been in a relationship with the Northam man for 34 years.
She said Doug, who had eight surviving brothers and sisters, was a family man who would have done anything for his children and grandchildren.
Pauline said it was the biggest shock of her life finding out what happened to her husband.
“I don’t think I have dealt with it yet,” she said. “We spent six days at hospital by his bedside.
“We stayed there as much as we could – he was never conscious, but we were there with him,” she said. Pauline said the family was together in the room when Doug passed away.
She said she had been surrounded by family and friends ever since.
“I haven’t been left alone and I guess it is scary to be alone at the moment,” she said.
“They have been here for me everyday and people are always ringing. The racecourse is doing everything and has been wonderful.”
Pauline said Doug was born and bred in Northam on Withnell Street.
Being such a large family, she said Doug and his siblings kept themselves busy by roaming the streets and doing outdoor activites.
He told me they would trap rabbits and eat them, off Throssell Street,” she said.
His interest in adventure and the outdoors continued throughout his life and was expressed with his love of hiking and prospecting.
Doug’s friend of 40 years, Brett Chrimes, said he was a “mad Eagles Football Club fan” who was fair and a hard worker.
“He valued his kids and wife,” he said. “It was all about them.”
To donate to the Fernihough family, visit wesbite https://www.gofundme.com/in-loving-memory-of-doug-fernihough.