Navy funeral for motor neurone disease victim

05:58, May 09 2012
ben revell
PROUD MOMENT: Mum Malia Revell with Lusia Rose and dad Ben Revell during the ceremony on Te Mana.

A full military funeral will be held on Friday for sailor Ben Revell who died from motor neurone disease a day after his daughter was baptised aboard a Navy frigate.

The Navy said Revell, an able electronic warfare specialist, will be given a full military funeral at the Devonport Navy Base.

A year ago Revell, 27, was fit and healthy but was diagnosed with the disease after failing a Navy fitness test in May.

Ben Revell
BEN REVELL: The Navy sailor was diagnosed with motor neurone disease after failing a fitness test in May.

In July he and his wife Malia discovered they were expecting their first child and against all medical predications, Revell was able to see the birth of his daughter in February.

Last Friday they had their daughter baptised on board HMNZS Te Mana, a Navy tradition that had been a wish of Revell's since before Luisa was born.

"She's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life," he said last week.

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Revell died the following morning.

"He went home and didn't feel great and then things just deteriorated," Navy spokesperson adviser Lieutenant Commander Angela Barker said.

"He must have been holding out so he his daughter's baptism."

Barker said despite Revell's illness the death had come as a shock.

The Navy said the funeral would consist of a Requiem Mass, followed by a military salute from the Funeral Firing party, who will fire three volleys into the air as a mark of respect prior to Revell making his final departure from the base.

Revell was one of just a few Kiwis suffering from motor neurone disease - a debilitating and aggressive neurological disorder that has no cure. Only 300 New Zealanders are thought to suffer from this, most are over 50.

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