It is my sad duty to report that Nick Catlan passed away at 4am this morning. Dave Billinghurst called me this morning to let me know.
Nick was the unofficial "elder statesman" of Australian Benchrest, and was one of the finest gentlemen I ever had the privilege to meet.
Benchrest has always had its share of "bitch sessions", but I never heard Nick complain about anything, and I also never heard anything but good words spoken about Nick.
He was a proud Queenslander who loved Rugby League, but saw the light and moved to "cockroach country" at Port Macquarie and was active coaching juniors in the finer points of Benchrest there.
He loved shooting of all forms, but as his health declined over the past few years, he concentrated on rimfire and hunter.
Nick had a stroke about 7 years ago while in hospital being treated for cancer. This caused him some issues with his speech, but his mind was still sharp as a tack.
He was in a private hospital in the eastern suburbs in Sydney, and I went to visit him there. I had been to a business meeting, and was wearing a suit at the time. I was talking to Nick in his room when a nurse marched in and quite rudely told me I had to go immediately as it was time for Nick's physical therapy session, which Nick didn't like at all. Quick as a wink, Nick stammered out..."but this is Doctor Carnell, he is a specialist!" The nurse blushed and profusely apologized and asked me to let her know when and if Nick would be ready for therapy! When she left, I closed the door and we had a good laugh about it. He had a wonderful sense of humour.
I suspect that by now, Nick is already trying to rearrange the shooting program at the big range in the sky!
Nick had a great many friends in the shooting sports, and I know he will be greatly missed.
Rest In Peace mate.