Widow on last leg of special ride
This morning Tina Grant revved her husband's motorbike and headed home, two years to the day since Douglas Grant was killed in Afghanistan.
The 41-year-old Tokomaru SAS corporal, known as "Dougie", was shot during a Taliban attack on British diplomatic offices in Kabul.
At the weekend, his passion for motorbikes was recognised in the second Douglas Grant memorial ride, which attracted about 200 members of the New Zealand Patriots Motorcycle Club - a riding group open to former and current military servicemen and women. About 120 riders took part last year.
Mrs Grant, who now lives in Auckland, rides for the club's City of Sails chapter.
She and her husband had been planning to move north, into a house they bought together days before Corporal Grant was killed.
When he died, Mrs Grant sold her own bike and she now rides his Triumph Sprint 1050cc.
She headed to Manawatu on Friday, while other riders came to the region from all over the country.
On Saturday, they visited the region's war memorials in a convoy.
Next, a plaque honouring Corporal Grant was unveiled at the Tokomaru RSA and, after the riders headed to Hawke's Bay yesterday, his headstone was unveiled at his final resting place in Napier. Mrs Grant said that was where the couple were married and where she grew up.
"That's the significance of Napier. I thought we don't want him in a place he doesn't want to be.
"He doesn't like Auckland - the move there was for work," she said.
However, that is where Mrs Grant will ride today, ending four straight days on the road.
Yesterday afternoon, the riders spent time at the Hastings RSA, helping Vietnam veterans mark Veterans' Day. "The Patriots club always help out the RSA. Wherever we go, we make sure we go to the RSA," Mrs Grant said.
Corporal Grant spent 21 years in the military, serving in East Timor, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.
A memorial trust has been set up for Douglas Grant's children. Donations can be made to ASB Bank, Palmerston North, account number 12-3143-0276817-00.