Friends grieve for father, daughters
AFTER news of Brian "Birdy" Burdett and his daughters' deaths reached his ears, Ross Stewart could not speak for two days.
Such was the emotional impact on the man who was among many and one of the best friends of the popular surfer and musician.
Ahead of the Burleigh Point paddle out in Birdy's memory on Saturday March 31 from 2pm (Qld) Mr Stewart assured My Daily News though the pair grew up together, he was only one part of the man's life during their almost four decade friendship.
"He had friends everywhere," he said.
"There are people who could sing better than him, and there are people who can play guitar better than him, but he was an entertainer.
"He played the audience, and they would stay on the dance floor until he walked off the stage."
Birdy and his daughters Kayla, 11, and Sky, 13, were "just rays of sunshine", Mr Stewart said.
They died in a car accident on the Kings Hwy near Braidwood, south-west NSW, about 4.30pm (NSW) on Friday March 9.
"It's a much bleaker world without them," he said.
"His first wife Josephine and her son Tim spent Christmas with us last year.
"I'll always remember that day fondly, because it was the first Christmas we'd spent together since we'd been camping on Moreton Bay years ago."
Birdy and Mr Stewart were members of the Heron Avenue Gang during their childhood.
He said the fact his friend's daughters would never see anything beyond childhood was the "real tragedy".
"He had an absolutely wonderful life.
"He had the potential to be a rock star, but he wanted to play music at night and surf all day.
"And that's what he bloody well did."
Birdy was born in Horsham, Victoria, and lived in a tent by Main Beach after moving to the Gold Coast during his early-teens.
Mr Stewart said he "developed into an exceptional surfer and motorbike rider, and spent many years playing guitar and singing around many camp fires".
"He became a quality electrician, but that was just a back up as he was always going to be an entertainer."