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News from a Barwicker in New Zealand

Barwicker No.104
December 2011

Mark Coulthard was born in Barwick to Barwick parents Fred and Rosemary Coulthard. He emigrated to New Zealand and is now married with three children and settled in Christchurch. Much to my surprise I saw him on BBC Leeds News days after the second earthquake. Mark reads the Society's web site and responded to me recently. His long reply shows how Barwickers are setting down roots and facing problems elsewhere in the world.

He says:

" It is just under a year since I was back in Barwick, for the funeral of Mum who died on the 2nd September. This was just two days before the first of the 7,500 earthquakes that we have experienced in the Canterbury region since then. It has as I say certainly been an interesting and somewhat traumatic time for all concerned.

We are so lucky that apart from very minor damage, our home has survived. So many people have lost their homes or are still living without water & sewage supplies some seven months on from the quake that caused the most damage in February. There are large parts of the city that have suffered badly from liquefaction - a horrible grey looking sand that rose up from the ground in areas closest to the River Avon. The City centre is still closed off as there are many unsafe buildings.

I have to say that the moment the 22nd February quake hit, was the worst moment of my life. I don't think that [ had ever felt so scared and helpless as I did in the ensuing hours. I was at work in the Central City when it struck and saw some horrible things ... and not knowing for several hours whether Jean & our three children (at two schools) were safe or not. Thankfully all were well.

My workplace, the Chrisrchurch Star Newspaper, is destined for the demolition gangs as the liquefaction and water has destroyed the foundations & walls, As the building warden I went back through the building minutes after the quake to make sure everybody was out and it was amazing to see such a vibrant & busy place destroyed in 20 seconds of raw power, We found some temporary premises at a local cricket club which became home tor five months.

Thankfully this week we have moved into some modem premises which will be home for a couple of years at least. Just to top it off we have had our worst winter in terms of snowfall for many a year to keep us smiling!

The snow became known as 'The Icing on the Quake' - you have to keep smiling. Thankfully the quakes seem to be happening less often and with less power, but the fear remains of another big one. On Saturday morning we had three within five minutes - all were centred within 2km of home ... thankfully they were not very powerfuI...keeps you on your toes though! Lots of historical places are very badly damaged, many beyond repair. Both the Anglican & Catholic Cathedrals suffered major damage that will cost millions to repair. It's not all doom and gloom though as people are getting back on with life and making the best of the situation.

Thanks for all of your committee's work on the website, I make regular visits to it to see what's happening 'back home' and see what 'gems' have been unearthed & I am sure that many' others living away from the village do as well. It was a great place to be brought up in.

Once a Barwicker always a Barwicker eh?"


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