Details of memorial service for Blair Vining released

12 October 2019
Details of memorial service for Blair Vining released

Southland cancer care advocate Blair Vining was full of positivity and light until the end: and his final farewell will be held in the same fashion.

A memorial service for Blair will be held on Wednesday. Those planning to attend are asked to wear their favourite rugby jersey in honour of one of Blair’s enduring passions. While Blair originally wanted his final send-off to be held at Bill Richardson Transport World, it has been decided this is not possible due to space constraints. The significant public interest in his campaign for better access to cancer treatment for all Kiwis means a large crowd is expected to attend. However, the family wish to recreate the same atmosphere as during Blair’s farewell party, held earlier this year in Bill’s Shed, Blair’s wife Melissa Vining says.

“This is not a funeral, it is a celebration of life,” she says.

“We want to pay tribute to Blair the way he would have wanted. We want to create a room full of love and positivity, to celebrate the life of a legend.”

Blair passed away on Friday morning, almost a year after he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bowel cancer and told he had mere weeks to live.

Because of chronic under-resourcing in his region, he was unlikely to see a specialist before the cancer took his life.

Instead of succumbing to negativity the father-of-two began a tireless campaign to reform cancer care throughout the country, in a bid to make access to treatment equitable for all New Zealanders. He and Melissa worked tirelessly to make access to cancer care more equal for all Kiwis, presenting a petition of more than 140,000 signatures to set up a national cancer agency to Parliament.

As a direct result of his campaigning, the Government announced its Cancer Action Plan. The plan included a pledge for an extra $60 million to Pharmac to fund cancer medicines, the establishment of a Cancer Control Agency, and the appointment of a national director of cancer control. Blair and Melissa also drove discussions about the need for a charitable hospital in Southland.

Media who wish to attend the service are respectfully asked to register their interest by emailing Alana Dixon-Calder (alana.dixon-calder@transportworld.co.nz). A dedicated area for media in attendance will be provided to ensure the service is as discreet and non-invasive as possible for family and friends.

Service details:

When: 11.30am, Wednesday 16 October

Where: ILT Stadium Southland, Invercargill

Wear: A rugby jersey in honour of Blair

For further information please contact Alana Dixon-Calder: alana.dixon-calder@transportworld.co.nz or 027 621 9751

Latest Articles

Thank you SW Finance
12 January 2021

Southlanders just keep on giving to the Southland Charity Hospital – and the latest gesture from Scott Williamson, of SW Finance, has once again humbled those involved. In late January, Scott’s newly launched business, SW Finance, is the headline sponsor for the upcoming 2020/2021 New Zealand Saloon Championships, being held… Read more

Community support continues to deliver for the Southland Charity Hospital
27 November 2020

The Southland Charity Hospital has received overwhelming support this year from Southland and Otago businesses that continue to think outside the square and come up with wonderful ways to raise the funds required to begin the hospital build. So far, The Southland Charity Hospital has raised over $1.7 million dollars… Read more

All for the Cause
15 October 2020

They’ll arrive this weekend in various states of disrepair. Some will be a bit thicker around the midriff, others will be hobbling. A few may have a grey hair or seven, or the odd piece of plastic where a joint used to be. They’ll disembark from cars and planes and… Read more