In my capacity as Chairman of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign I sent a letter of condolence to the people of Christchuch, New Zealand in the wake of the tragedy they have suffered as a result of the earthquake that hit yesterday. Many readers of my blog have been supporters of the campaign so I wanted to share my letter to His Excellency Mr Derek Leask, the High Commissioner for New Zealand in London:
In keeping with my close association with that great New Zealander, Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park, it is with great sadness that I write to you to express my own condolences and those of my colleagues at this most difficult and dark time for New Zealand.
The large casualty list and the extensive damage suffered by Christchurch and its people have profoundly shocked everyone here in the United Kingdom.
Earthquakes are often dramatic events, but to have one occur in the midst of a busy city in the middle of the day is doubly catastrophic. To me one of the most dramatic pictures is of that symbol of faith and continuity, the 130 year old cathedral, minus its spire.
Many people here will have friends and relatives in New Zealand, which will make the tragedy even more poignant. Yet in their hearts they know that the people of Christchurch and the authorities there will shoulder their tragic losses and remake and rebuild their city in the true manner of New Zealanders in adversity.
In that vein may I send my utmost support to the rescue teams, the fire fighters, the medical services, and indeed everyone else as they cope with the aftermath and the aftershocks. I am glad to read too that a 62 man search and rescue team from this country is already on its way out there to assist where they can.
Your Excellency, I am once again deeply shocked and touched by another environmental tragedy in New Zealand. It has been made worse by the fact that there was an earlier quake last September. I would therefore be grateful if you would convey my condolences and heartfelt thoughts to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Mayor of Christchurch and the people of that city.
Chairman, the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign