One final walk through the old sports stadium
A group who helped maintain Christchurch’s Lancaster Park for many years took a trip down memory lane as they walked through the old stadium for the last time.
The life members of the Victory Park Board, who volunteered a lot of their time at the park, went on one last walk together through the stripped stadium on Wednesday.
Martin Howman said it meant a lot to the group to go back through the earthquakedamaged stadium before it was completely pulled down. Seeing the stadium go was like having a death in the family, but it needed to be done, he said.
Howman reminisced about times the stadium was pumping with noise as 60,000 people packed in to watch concerts.
The ground’s extensive history would live on well after it was demolished, he said.
‘‘It’s in the bones of the ground with the memorial gates, lots of people that were involved in the ground had their ashes spread here.’’
Murray Inglis and Craig Sullivan remembered how the site was home to three rugby fields in the 1950s.
Inglis said the park became a ‘‘sea of bikes’’ on Saturdays as everyone rode there to play and watch rugby.
Seeing the drastic changes to the stadium over the years left Inglis feeling quite emotional.
‘‘It brings a tear to my eye to see what it is now. So many memories.’’
Howman hoped the site would once again become a sports facility. Fellow life member Don McKendry said he hoped the Lancaster Park Cricket Club would return to the historic ground.
Christchurch City Council stadium deconstruction manager Lee Butcher said the last tour around the stadium was a nice send off for the board’s life members.
‘‘It’s nice to walk around with the vast majority of them now and share that experience with them ... because once it’s gone it’s gone.’’
The Victory Park Act appointed the Victory Park Board to administer Lancaster Park in 1919.
The deconstruction of Lancaster Park is believed to be one of the biggest demolition jobs undertaken in New Zealand. It is expected to take between 12 and 14 months to complete.
Victory Park Board members look at the demolition that has started on the Tui Stand at Christchurch’s old Lancaster Park.