Move to country a 'lifelong dream'

04:01, Nov 06 2012
daniel charles down
FAMILY MAN: Daniel Down, 30, was killed on Sunday in a motorbike crash near Waihao Forks.

A Waimate man killed in a motorbike collision on Sunday shifted his family to the area to enjoy country life.

Daniel Charles Down, 30, moved to the Waihao Forks area with his family about one year ago, his wife Rebecca Down said.

They shifted from Christchurch to raise their two children, an 8-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, away from the city, Mrs Down said. The couple celebrated their six-year anniversary in August.

In Christchurch Mr Down, known to friends as ''Dinger'', had worked as an engineer.

When he took a job working as a dairy farm assistant for farmer David Ellis, it was fulfilling his lifelong dream, Mrs Down said.

''He was really enjoying the lifestyle here and the kids were loving it,'' she said.


Country life gave Mr Down more opportunities to enjoy his favourite hobby, riding motocross bikes.

Mrs Down said her husband often rode with their son and with the other men employed on the farm, including Simon Proudfoot, a promising player for the Waimate Rugby Club senior side.

Mr Proudfoot was seriously injured in Sunday's crash.

That day, the two men left together on one motorbike from a barbecue at Mr Proudfoot's home. They intended to go to Mr Down's home to get his motorbike so that they could ride together at one of the tracks they'd built on the property, Mrs Down said.

Police are still investigating the circumstances of the crash, but Mr Proudfoot apparently dropped Mr Down off at his residence and Mr Down got on his motorbike. Minutes later, with darkness falling, the two riders collided in Coalpit Rd.

Mr Proudfoot remained in Timaru Hospital in stable condition as of 2.30pm today. His family could not be reached for comment.

Mr Down was dead when emergency services personnel arrived at the scene at about 9.30pm on Sunday. An autopsy was expected to be completed today.

Police said both men were wearing helmets.

Funeral services will be held in Christchurch, Mrs Down said.

She described her husband as generous, quick to offer help to others and ''one of the funniest people that anyone would meet''.

''I didn't know anyone who met him who didn't like him. He was just one of those people,'' she said. ''He was the best dad that any kid could ever want. He was always fun.''

The Timaru Herald