Full military funeral for navy battler
CHARLES ANDERSON AND MICHAEL FIELD
A full military funeral will be held on Friday for sailor Ben Revell who died from motor neurone disease a day after his daughter had been baptised aboard a navy frigate.
The navy say Able Electronic Warfare Specialist Revell will be given a full military funeral at the Devonport Navy Base.
Revell joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2004.
Last year he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, shortly before marrying his partner Malia.
He then became virtually bed-ridden and communicated through an electronic tablet. He was 27.
In July 2011 Malia and Ben discovered they were expecting their first child and against all medical predictions Ben was able to see the birth of his daughter in February of this year.
Last Friday Ben and Malia were able to have their daughter baptised onboard HMNZS Te Mana, a Navy tradition which had been a wish of Ben's since before Luisa was born.
He died in North Shore Hospital only hours later, early on Saturday morning, according to the navy.
"He went home and didn't feel great and then things just deteriorated," Navy spokesperson adviser Lieutenant Commander Angela Barker said.
"He must have been holding out for his daughter's baptism."
Revell was one of just a few Kiwis suffering from motor neurone disease – a debilitating and aggressive neurological disorder that has no cure. Only 300 New Zealanders are thought to suffer from this, most aged more than 50.
Revell was diagnosed after having trouble passing his navy fitness test. Within six months he was struggling to walk or speak clearly.
The former Rosmini College student had been working at the Joint Force Headquarters in Wellington.
Like any new dad, Revell thought his little girl was perfect.
"She's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life," Revell said last week.
In an old navy tradition, the ship's bell was used, with the name of the baby engraved inside the bell.
Barker said despite Revell's illness the death had come as a shock.
- Fairfax Media