A generous supporter for his community

03:33, Jan 23 2013
Allen Waghorn
Allen Waghorn.


He was a big man, larger than life in every way.

Allen Waghorn was big in stature, big in heart and generosity, blessed with the energy and optimism which can carry others along.

His passing at the age of 64 leaves gaps in community life in the south where he was committed in many ways, honouring that commitment to help and to share with others right until the end.

He played his last hand, a good one, at the Invercargill Bridge Club, attended his last Invercargill South Rotary club meeting at Christmas.

Greymouth born, paint merchant Allen Waghorn had married fellow Coaster Gloria Blanchfield, daughter of renowned West Coast MP Paddy Blanchfield, in Christchurch in 1969.


They came south for three years, stayed for 33.

Allen Waghorn, loving it here, vowed he would work at his Spey St paint shop till he was 83, celebrate his diamond wedding anniversary and enjoy the arrival of his great grandchildren.

He did celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary and he and Gloria were blessed with four grandchildren.

But illness put paid to the rest.

Daily dialysis took a toll and two years ago he sold his business, among the most successful in the 31-strong national ColourPlus franchise.

Fundraisers were among the many customers who mourned his death. He was always good for a donation to a worthy cause, giving a tin of paint from that seemingly cluttered storehouse, pulling out a note from a top pocket that bulged with paper and pens, but whose contents Allen knew to a T.

He was an exceptionally astute businessman, loving a bargain, ready to offer to clear someone's stock - equally ready to offer a discount along with suggestions and some practical help.

Leading the farewell service Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Nyalle Paris, said it was close on 30 years back, but he still recalled the common sense practical help Allen offered him about fixing a hole in a wall.

Invercargill Rotary south president Grant Reece joined Rotary 30 years ago with Allen, who went on to be awarded Rotary's highest accolade, a Paul Harris Fellowship in 2004, for his outstanding work under the "service above self" motto.

It was "Wag" who developed the first Probus Club here for retirees, a hugely popular initiative, and Wag who wielded the tools for big sociable barbecues.

In Rotary, as at the Invercargill bridge club and in business, his attention to detail included never missing a meeting, always being there, ready to contribute, to offer, to do.

Max Skerrett said he'd be missed at the bridge club. He had a passion for the game and a great understanding of it.

He was an expert in home decorating but he'd never held a paint brush. He was an ideas man, someone with a great capacity for research and an ability to remember things, who knew who did what and where.

Given a problem, he would set to and solve it. Faced with a contentious issue he could calm the waters, while working it through.

The Waghorns enjoyed a close family life with many visits back to the Coast and to Allen's widowed mother, Joyce, in Christchurch too.

Allen Waghorn's capacity for enjoyment was contagious, people joining him in games of blackjack or going to hear Fleetwood Mac in Sydney.

His friendship, his readiness to help, generosity to school appeals and the like - they will all be remembered, as doubtless some of the tales of Wag will grow into legendary status.

It was not a long life, but Allen Waghorn lived all of it happily and well.

He is survived by his wife, Gloria, his mother, Joyce, daughter Rochelle, son Rhys, daughter-in-law Samara and four grandchildren, Kieran and Jayden, Dylnne and Nevaeh.

The Southland Times