Good company for last hurrah
It was the final Christmas hurrah for Christchurch red-zoners Diana Madgin and Bill Willmott.
The couple will leave their River Rd home, on the banks of the Avon River, in April, having settled with the Government and insurers.
Madgin bought the house 37 years ago and Willmott moved in when they married in the early 1980s.
To celebrate Christmas, nine friends and Trinity Kinsman-Brown the dog yesterday piled in for roast turkey and all the trimmings.
There was also another reason to crack open the bubbly - Christmas Day marked close friend and adopted grandmother Eileen Odering's 88th birthday.
Christmas in the red zone is nothing without good company and comedy.
Willmott, on carving duty, joked that the table was on a spectacular slant.
"If we had peas, one side of the table would be getting more than the other," Tingay Davidson said.
The couple spent Christmas morning visiting former neighbours, most of whom had moved into new homes.
"The most dramatic thing has been the loss of community," Madgin said. "We've reconnected with the community who used to be here, and wish they were here. We've all become friends.
"It is really important to put community first."
With the surrounding area desolate and with occasional arsons, the community had been a cornerstone of the couple's post-quake lives.
"They save us from going round the bend, to be honest," Madgin said.
Madgin and Willmott will shift to Heathcote next year.