Could we take the opportunity to express our sincere thanks to the communities of Clutha, Catlins, Milton, Dunedin and further afield for their expressions of sympathy, their practical support, their gifts and their comfort to us, following the terrible accident which took Eluned from us on January 15.
OPINION: You have enveloped us in a huge blanket of comfort, warmth and compassion, which has given us the strength to bear what had seemed an impossible burden.
People have given us hugs, shed tears with us, I think lots of people had sleepless nights with us, we have had flowers for Africa, enough baking to feed a small army - how can we ever thank you enough?
We quickly realised that it was going to be an impossible task to thank everybody, so please could you accept our apology that we will not be able to thank most people personally.
In particular, though, we would like to thank the following people:
Owaka and Balclutha volunteer fire brigades; Owaka for their attendance at what must have been a very unpleasant call, Balclutha for their ongoing support and their attendance as pallbearers - Eluned would have been stoked!
St John Owaka and Balclutha, for the same reasons.
Catlins Search and Rescue.
The people at the Newhaven Camping Ground and those people who assisted with CPR on the beach. The police, for their attendance, their assistance, their compassion shown to us at every stage. What would we have done without you?
Catlins Area School for their support and the amazing kapa haka.
City Impact Church, whose generous gift we wish to donate, in Eluned's name, to the Catlins Search and Rescue, so that something good can come of such an awful tragedy.
Doug Nesbit and his team, for their care, compassion and their working into the nights to deliver an amazing send-off for Eluned. We really appreciate what you did for us.
Thank you also to the media, for their respecting our need for privacy in the days following the accident.
There is a saying that it takes a whole village to raise a child. We have been absolutely blown away by the support we have received, which shows that we have had not just a village helping us, but many communities in several countries.
Thank you all so much, you truly are amazing and the best community in the world.
THE FINNEY FAMILY
- The Southland Times