Community advocate John Brett dies

John Brett
John Brett

A Blenheim octogenarian praised as a tough community watchdog, who tackled authorities with his wry wit, has died.

John Brett, 88, died peacefully at Marlborough Hospice on July 10.

Mr Brett was admired for speaking on behalf of the community on issues of health, elderly advocacy and council matters.

He retained his sense of humour when laying out criticism and compliments.

Mr Brett had been a member of Marlborough Grey Power and regularly attended meetings of Marlborough District Council, Nelson Marlborough District Health board and Marlborough Primary Health Organisation.

His good friend Jean Wilson first met him at a Grey Power meeting.

She said Mr Brett would be remembered as an independent free thinker.

"He had a wealth of knowledge and was a very strong community advocate," Wilson said.

"At meetings he would speak on behalf of the community. His sense of humour popped out every now and then. He could deliver a punch with his wry wit.

"A lot of people were very fond of him and he was very much admired. When he thought something was wrong he would stand up and say so. He was a man of principle."

Mayor Alistair Sowman said Mr Brett took a keen interest in the affairs of Marlborough during council meetings.

"He regularly offered feedback to councillors and was not shy about offering criticism or compliments, making an enthusiastic contribution to the democratic process," Sowman said.

Mr Brett provided a community voice during the redevelopment of Wairau Hospital.

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board chairwoman Jenny Black said he was a familiar face at board meetings.

"He was the eyes and ears of the community for many years giving us feedback both positive and negative," Black said.

"He was thoughtful in his comments to the board and always had a sense of community and brought to our attention areas of need or where services for the community, especially the elderly, could be improved. We will remember John fondly for his community spirit and the role he had in shaping our DHB."

The Marlborough Express