Balloon pair wanted to help others

Last updated 05:00 07/01/2013
Annie and Jan Jordaan, Vivienne and Allan Still

REMEMBERING: Parents Annie, left, and Jan Jordaan and Vivienne and Allan Still attend a public memorial service for balloon victims Chrisjan Jordaan and Alexis Still by Arise church at the Michael Fowler Centre on Sunday.

BODIES RETURNED: Chrisjan Jordaan, 21, and his girlfriend Alexis Still, 19, before the hot air balloon flight that claimed their lives.
Geoff Walker Photography
MISSED: Chrisjan Jordaan, 21, and his girlfriend Alexis Still, 19, before the hot air balloon flight that claimed their lives.

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If life was a party then Alexis Still was "the disco ball".

The 19-year-old died alongside her partner, Chrisjan Jordaan, 21, in the Carterton balloon crash a year ago today.

Yesterday fellow Arise church member Vicki Andrews described Ms Still as "daring, funny and adventurous" during a public memorial for the pair at the Michael Fowler Centre.

The event marked the first anniversary of the tragedy, when 11 people died after a balloon piloted by Lance Hopping hit powerlines on January 7, 2012.

The balloon burst into flames and crashed into a paddock in Somerset Rd, just north of Carterton.

The memorial was attended by more than 1000 people, including Alexis' and Chrisjan's parents, Vivienne and Allan Still, and Annie and Jan Jordaan.

Speaking after the memorial, Chrisjan's mother, Annie, described how her son was "smitten" with his new girlfriend - the couple had wooed each other while in Malawi on an aid mission but Chrisjan's parents had never met their son's new flame.

"We never had the privilege of meeting her and we are definitely the poorer for that," Mrs Jordaan said.

Just two days before the fatal flight all four had arranged to meet for the first time at the Jordaans' farm in Tapanui, Southland. The visit never happened.

The enduring memory of the couple was of adventurous and devout young people who wanted to live a worthy life helping others, she said.

Through the church Chrisjan, who had studied architecture, had changed his vocation and was training to become a missionary.

A public service to mark the anniversary of the tragedy will be held today in Carterton.

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- The Dominion Post

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