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Eulogy: For John Vaughan

2PM, MAY 21, 2002

By Hugh Burrett, Managing Director, ASB Bank

My name is Hugh Burrett and I am the Managing Director of ASB Bank. At today’s service I am representing the more than 3000 people who make up the ASB Bank family. These people are John’s friends and work colleagues.

We are grieving, devastated, bewildered and yearning to ease the grief being endured by John’s family. Each of us personally wants to reach out, touch and comfort them.

And each of those 3000 work colleagues has families, whose thoughts and compassion are with John’s family today.

At ASB Bank we think of ourselves as a family. We share our successes and failures, and at moments like this, our losses, as one.

We are also members of a larger family, that of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. And I would like to acknowledge the presence today of David Murray, the Managing Director of the Commonwealth Bank and two Commonwealth Bank colleagues. They have specifically come to New Zealand to be at this service, and to spend time with John’s family and ASB Bank employees.

I know that we at this service are reaching out to each other for comfort and the strength to farewell John. I also know that there are members of the ASB Bank family throughout the cities and towns of New Zealand joining us with their thoughts.

Some will be doing it privately. Others are gathering together in small groups, or holding their own memorial services for John.

Each will mourn in a way most appropriate to them. Whether it is through prayer or reflection, they will be dwelling on the courage, the strength and the concern for others that John displayed. Their thoughts will be for a colleague no longer with us.

On behalf of all in the ASB family I wish to say to John’s family, and to the community of Mangere Bridge, that we too feel your grief. John’s life, and the tragic events leading to his death, will not fade from our memories.

The Bank has already made two decisions to honour John’s memory in perpetuity.

- the first is the establishment of the “John Vaughan Memorial Scholarships”. These scholarships will be open to the daughters and sons of ASB Bank staff, and will be designed to assist them as they transition from youth to adulthood.

At the appropriate time John’s son Ben will be a recipient of one of these scholarships.

- the second decision is that we will refurbish and reopen the Mangere Bridge branch of ASB Bank. Within the branch there will be a plaque in remembrance of John.

I know John would have wanted the Mangere Bridge branch to continue and it is his personality and character, and the strength of all our staff, that led us to reach the decision to reopen the branch.

It is common knowledge that John was a triathlete, and a good one at that. To succeed in his sport John had to have an iron will and a determination to see the journey through to the end.

No matter what the pain, no matter the number of falls, no matter the number of times things did not go right, John would not quit.

He gritted his teeth, and said I can get to the top of the next hill, I can travel the next kilometre, I will not accept defeat.

And that is what ASB Bank is saying in terms of Mangere Bridge. Despite the painful memories, we will continue.

John served this community, and in the course of serving the community he lost his life. To do anything less than continuing to serve the community would be a betrayal of John’s memory.

John, the ASB family will not let you down. We too will find the courage and the strength to pick ourselves up and climb the next hill and travel the next kilometre. Like you John, we will not accept defeat.


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