A dedicated fundraising effort and around five years of hard work is behind the recent building of a memorial wall at St Stephens Anglican church in Whangaparaoa.
The 7m-long wall, constructed of fibreglass reinforced concrete, is like a honeycomb inside, containing 176 spaces where ashes can be interred and sealed.
Graham Lamont, nearly 90 years old, has been at the heart of the project, which was strongly supported by parishioners – around $50,000 was donated to make it happen.
The Whangaparaoa resident and retired Reverend, has been involved with St Stephens since the mid-1990s.
He says the wall is primarily for the ashes of people who have worshipped at St Stephens and been part of the church family, but spaces can also be purchased for the interment of servicemen and women.
He says this is because of a connection with St Stephens’ wooden chapel that was built in 1917 as a memorial to those who served in World War I.
Three of Graham’s great uncles served in World War I and two were killed as young men, so it is fitting that the first two plaques on the wall commemorate them.
Graham has also reserved a place for himself and his wife, Helen, whose ashes will be interred there soon.
“Around 20 members of the congregation have purchased niches so far,” he says.