Among the pleasures of being a punter on the Avon is sharing in special anniversaries, says Adrian Ramsay.
Last Saturday – the third anniversary of Christchurch’s destructive earthquake that took 185 lives – two people had pre-booked a punt ride from Antigua Boatsheds departing at 12:30 pm. They wished for their river experience to coincide with the conclusion of the memorial service being held in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Adrian says it was indeed a memorable anniversary for the couple on two counts. They were married 23 years previously on February 22, and three years ago the woman, Liz, had been in her top floor office in the CTV building when the earthquake struck. She rode the building as it collapsed. The CTV building claimed 115 lives that day.
Adrian’s punt Mary arrived at a crowded footbridge right on cue. The final act of the memorial service was to toss flowers into the river as a tribute to those who perished on February 22, 2011. The punt slid under the bridge, parting the brightly-coloured floating summer blooms.
“They were both celebrating the day; being alive and well and the emotions of punting through that large crowd of people throwing vast amounts of flowers into the river. It was a wonderful and emotional experience,” says Adrian.
“As a long-time punter on the Avon I often have the privilege of sharing such special occasions. To be part of our clients’ special day is a particularly rewarding part of my job. It is the reason I love this work.”