Safety came first for 'driven' logger

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 02/12/2013

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A career in forestry was always on the cards for Michael Langford, who died tragically in a logging accident in Foxhill last Friday.

He was driven, committed and highly regarded by his peers and the community he lived in, his family said yesterday.

All, including his twin sister Adrienne "AJ" Langford who arrived from Western Australia yesterday, have gathered to mourn the death of a father, partner, son and brother.

The accident happened at a private forestry site off Foxhill Cemetery Rd, when 28-year-old Mr Langford, the owner of Langford Contracting, had been working on a skidder on site with his crew and was pinned between two logs.

Family said Mr Langford always had huge respect and admiration for his crew.

His mother, Jan Boyd, said he had loved the industry from the moment he left Tapawera Area School at age 16 to take up a logging job.

The family said he was extremely focused and worked hard to achieve his goals. At age 12 he built his own two-bunk hut, which still stands.

After working in the industry for a couple of years he bought a section on which he built his home at a young age, Jan Boyd said.

He then bought a portable sawmill and digger to start working as an owner/operator. He rapidly progressed to the stage he was able to buy his first bulldozer and then established his own logging company, employing a small gang specialising in logging small blocks of trees.

"He was a loving, loyal friend to absolutely everyone, and he didn't have a negative bone in his body. He was a man of few words, yet never hesitated to take young ones under his wing, and help be a positive role model," the family said.

Adrienne said she was blessed to share a childhood with him. She said it was an amazing and special thing to grow up sharing the closeness of having a twin brother at her side, and forever admired his accomplishments.

Sister Georgina grew up adoring her older brother and is forever grateful for the role model she looked up to.

Older sister Rachel Clay said she and Michael used to argue over who would be first to own a [Toyota] Hilux.

"He knew if he went into forestry he would get that Hilux. He did get it. I have never owned one, so he beat me well and truly."

Younger brother Dan Boyd remembered how totally driven and passionate he was about the industry.

"Everything was done to the highest standard possible. He taught me to drive diggers, and it was always safety first."

He said his brother was "quiet on the surface", but different once people got to know him. His family was his priority.

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The family said he was meticulous about safety; Mrs Clay described what happened as a terrible freak accident.

Jan Boyd said her son loved animals, and was equally fond of hunting and the outdoors.

"He used to do his homework at school so he could vanish up into the hills hunting.

"He got his first dog at age 12."

Adrienne and Georgina enjoyed sharing adventures in the outdoors with their brother.

Adrienne had nothing but gratitude for her brother's partner for giving him the joy of love.

"Seeing him with his son was the best thing I've seen. I've never seen so much love in a man's eyes.

"She gave him the best gift he ever had."

Mr Langford's partner, Kim Moore, said in a statement via her brother-in-law Chris Moore that she would like to thank friends, family and the wider community for the huge support they were giving.

She said the family would like some space to grieve and come to terms with what had happened.

- Nelson

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