16 Oct 2019

Hundreds turn out to Blair Vining memorial service

3:19 pm on 16 October 2019

Hundreds of people wearing the jerseys of their favourite rugby teams turned out for the memorial service of cancer care advocate Blair Vining today.

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Photo: Facebook / Screenshot

The 39-year-old Southland father-of-two died last week after a year-long battle with bowel cancer.

About 1000 people gathered at Stadium Southland for the service.

Mr Vining insisted that he deliver his own eulogy and on the pre-recorded video message he paid tribute to his loved ones and asked everyone to jump on board with the government's Cancer Action Plan to save lives.

His wife, Missy, said her husband told her she had to speak at the service about how lucky she was to be married to Mr Vining.

Mrs Vining said he thought it was a joke, but in reality she was the luckiest person in the world to be his wife.

His daughters, Della-May and Lilly, have described Mr Vining as a selfless hero.

His brother Shaun Vining paid tribute to the larrikin and rugby head with a heart of gold.

He said many things made him proud of his younger brother, but nothing more so than the fact a guy that never voted and never got involved in politics spent his last months fighting for the people of New Zealand.

Mr Vining was diagnosed with terminal cancer late last year and told he only had weeks to live.

Due to delays, he couldn't even get an appointment with an oncologist through the public sector.

After seeking treatment through the private sector, Mr Vining started a petition calling for the establishment of a national cancer agency and an overhaul of cancer care nationwide.

It garnered more than 140,000 signatures and many of his hopes for reform were covered by the Government's Cancer Action Plan.

It was the wish of Mr Vining that those attending today's service wore their favourite rugby jersey.

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