Lakefront seat memorial for husband

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 06/03/2014
memorial seat
BARRY HARCOURT/Fairfax NZ
MEMORIAL SEAT: Te Anau woman Pamela Wonnacott has had her request granted for a seat to be installed in the town’s Memorial Park in memory of her late husband, who once needed a spot to rest there but couldn’t find one.

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Today is a day tinged with sadness for Te Anau woman Pamela Wonnacott, as it is one year since her husband died of bowel cancer.

She does have something to celebrate, however, because yesterday the Te Anau Community Board gave its blessing for her to install a seat in memory of her husband in the town's Memorial Park.

Mrs Wonnacott and her husband Alistair moved from Christchurch to Te Anau in their retirement about nine years ago.

"He was a tramper, so we wanted to do all the walks, but four months later he was diagnosed," Mrs Wonnacott said.

Originally given 15 months to live, he was able to have surgery which kept him going.

Unable to tramp, the couple enjoyed walking along the Te Anau lakefront, but in the last four months of his life Mr Wonnacott was unable to walk without assistance.

It was their final walk to the lakefront together that inspired Mrs Wonnacott's dream of a seat.

"His last wish was to walk down to the lake, but he was struggling a bit so on our way home we took a short-cut through the park. He was finding it so difficult, he had to lean on me for support and we needed to stop, but I couldn't find a seat anywhere."

Mrs Wonnacott wrote to the community board, offering to pay for a seat to go in the park.

"There are plenty of seats along the lakefront but a few more are needed around the town. The only problem we had was finding a seat to rest on the way to and from the lakefront," the letter says.

Mrs Wonnacott said yesterday she hoped the new seat could benefit other people who were unwell but wanted to be able to walk around the town.

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