Tributes have flowed after the death of much-loved Australian leather community member Bruce Bellingham, as family and friends plan a service to celebrate his life in northern New South Wales.
His family announced online that Victor Bruce Bellingham passed away “suddenly and tragically” on October 9. Bruce was 42.
“Bruce had many friends in and around Sydney and many other cities across the country and world who loved his kind and generous soul,” his brother-in-law Michael wrote online.
“He loved a dance, and he formed many memories within the leather and fetish community, on and off the dancefloor.
“A fierce advocate of LGBTIQ rights and safe spaces, Bruce supported these causes wholeheartedly.
The tribute went on, “Bruce was a wanderer on this earth and would always greet friends and strangers with a warm, welcoming energy.
“He was a talented, fun-loving adventurer who wore his heart on his sleeve, and he loved to travel to remote areas where he found solace and beauty in the Australian landscape and beyond.”
Bruce Bellingham’s family and friends announced a celebration of his life is planned for Saturday, November 12 in the Northern Rivers in northern NSW.
They haven’t yet confirmed the location for the memorial, but his loved ones said all are welcome to attend “to farewell our Bruce”. Those wishing to attend should RSVP at the Facebook event page to plan for numbers.
“We’d love for everyone able to attend to wear a favourite piece of leather, no matter how small or significant,” they wrote.
“Those that can’t attend this event in the Northern Rivers, please know there’ll be something organised in the near future in Sydney. We know all of his friends may not be able to attend this event.”
Bruce Bellingham remembered as ‘bright light’ and ‘amazing human being’
Friends and community groups in multiple states including the Harbour City Bears, BootCo and others posted tributes to Bruce Bellingham online.
ACON’s Teddy Cook said Bruce was a “bright light” and a “much-loved” figure in the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Bruce was a bright light for so many in the trans community and the leather community,” Cook wrote on Facebook.
“He had such an infectious smile and a great big beautiful heart. To all who knew him, my heart is with you.”
Brisbane leather group BootCo’s Cyll Duncan said Bruce’s death was devastating news.
“Bruce attended many of our events and was an amazing human being,” Duncan wrote on Facebook.
“My heart goes out to those who were also lucky enough to have this amazing man in our lives.”
On Facebook, Bruce’s family urged anyone “struggling with this news or just struggling, please reach out for help during this very sad time.”
If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.
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