28 Jul 2014

Plane crash victim 'an ordinary chap'

8:25 pm on 28 July 2014

The family of New Zealander Rob Ayley, who was killed in the Malaysian airliner crash over eastern Ukraine, will hold a memorial service for him in Wellington on Monday.

Mr Ayley, 27, lived in Otaki on the Kapiti Coast with his wife and two young sons.

He was among the 298 passengers and crew who died when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on 18 July. Australian-based New Zealander Mary Menke and her husband Gerry also died in the disaster.

Mr Ayley's family emigrated from Britain to New Zealand when he was two years old and a family spokesperson said in a statement he was a vibrant young man and would be remembered as an ordinary chap.

"He wasn't a saint, he was no one important. His death is no more tragic than that of anyone who dies," the spokesperson said. "Rob lives on in his family, in his boys and in the many memories we all have of him."

The spokesperson said Mr Ayley played the drums at the church on Sundays, standing out with his bright blue dreadlocked hair and a cheeky smile.

"The circumstances of Rob's death are unique as Rob was unique but beneath it all he was a happy man who loved life and did what he could to make others happy too.

"Remember Rob, if you do, as an ordinary chap who ultimately achieved some amazing things which shows we should never assume someone's abilities but let them dream dreams and some may come true."

A service will be held at St John's Anglican church in the Wellington suburb of Johnsonville, which his family had attended together for 17 years.

Anyone wanting to make a donation towards the future of Mr Ayley's young sons could do so through a trust fund at Westpac Bank, the spokesperson said.