Ashburton RSA mourns 'Thursday regular'

MYLES HUME
Last updated 05:00 05/09/2014
Susan Leigh Cleveland
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'THEY WERE HER FAMILY': Ashburton shooting victim Susan Leigh Cleveland with her rottweilers Holly, Zena and Cameo.

Ashburton Winz
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/ Fairfax NZ
GRIEVING: Mourners last night at a candlelight vigil near the Ashburton Work and Income office.
Peg Noble
'A HEART OF GOLD': Peggy Noble lived for her job, friends and family say.

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At the table where Peggy Noble spent her Thursday nights a solemn group gathered alongside a flower vase in her memory.

It was in that corner - furthest from the bar - where the 67-year-old Work and Income staffer joined partner Don and friends for happy-hour drinks at the Ashburton Returned Services Association.

Last night friends and fellow members held a minute's silence at 6pm for the woman who was shot dead at work on Monday alongside colleague Susan Leigh Cleveland, 55. Flowers lay on the table to honour her.

"Members and visitors, tonight we remember the tragic events that happened this week and offer our condolences to the victims, especially Peggy Noble, who was a loyal and regular member of this club on Thursday nights," Ashburton RSA president Maurice Baker told members.

Two hours later, at 8pm, about 200 people gathered for an hour-long vigil before the cordoned-off Cass St building where she was killed.

As well as songs and a haka, many spoke of their memories of when Noble and Cleveland helped them when no-one else would.

Kumai Ross, 42, spoke of being in and out of jail.

"She [Noble] gave me the mana to get up and start working. Four years I have been out of that jail and out of that system," Ross said.

Violet Simon, 22, whose mother said "was on the path to destruction", remembered how Noble always told her to sit up straight and take her hat off.

She was always grateful to Noble for getting her life on track.

Another speaker said Lindy Curtis was doing well in hospital.

A civic service for people to express their grief is being planned by the Ashburton District Council. A condolence book is available to sign at the council offices.

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