A single blast from a cannon resounded across the Canterbury Plains as Adrian Mayberry's coffin was flown from his funeral service by helicopter.
More than 1000 gathered at Mayberry's home in Aylesbury, west of Christchurch, yesterday to farewell the pilot and firearms dealer who died when the helicopter he was flying crashed near Lake Coleridge last Wednesday.
His son-in-law, Nev Sarginson, 45, survived the crash. Sarginson's wife, Nicole, has credited her father's flying skill with saving his life. Members of the police, legal profession and judiciary attended the memorial service for Mayberry, 59, whose partner is Christchurch District Court judge, Jane Farish.
Father-of-five Mayberry established a Riccarton gunshop, Shooters Supplies, in 1982.
Friend and fellow helicopter pilot Dick Deaker said Mayberry learnt to fly planes in 1972 before getting his helicopter pilot's licence in 1986, and he had logged more than 1000 hours flying time. "He understood the danger. He was a safe and cautious pilot who knew his limitations."
Farish read a poem entitled Impressions of a Pilot that included the lines: "Each of us is created to die/ And within me I know/ I was born to fly."
At the end of the service, Mayberry's coffin was driven to a Squirrel helicopter. As mourners watched the helicopter overhead, the cannon fired a one-shot salute.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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