Commemoration Service for Helen Bain
Valued Christchurch Branch member Helen Bain passed away on 18 March. This was right before the lockdown, which meant a funeral service was not possible.
A service to commemorate Helen’s life was held on Tuesday 4 August. It was a fitting tribute to the memory of Helen, a lovely, gracious lady. It was very pleasing to
see at least 15 members of our society present to pay their respects. The service was taken by celebrant Rob Thomson. He gave a fulsome eulogy, which covered her birth in Owaka, South Otago through to the family moving to Timaru and her ultimately becoming a librarian in Christchurch, meeting and marrying Ken and raising three sons and a daughter. This was followed by one of her sons, her daughter and her granddaughter speaking.
A letter from previous national president and earlier branch president Eric Livingstone was read out. Eric pointed out that not only was Helen a founder of the Christchurch Branch over sixty five years ago, but she held most senior positions in the branch, including a period as Branch President. She was also on the National Executive and National Secretary for a number of years. Her interest in joining the society originally arose from her interest in Chinese art and culture and grew into one of genuine friendship to the many Chinese she met.
Her contribution was not just at the leadership level, but even more so welcoming new members and visitors from China, many of whom she hosted in her and Ken’s home. Eric has great memories of the warm welcome from Helen, the food, the outpouring of friendship and happiness, her speeches and the exchange of songs and experiences.
Notable among the many Chinese people who became house guests was Madame Li Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries with whom she developed a close friendship.
Many messages of condolence have been received from around New Zealand as well as China.
The Order of Service had a bookmark on the side of it, which was a fitting tribute to someone who had been a librarian for many years.
Many members of our society will have very happy memories of enjoying Helen’s friendship over the years, and that ever-present smile of hers. Helen will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her. Our sincere condolences go to Ken and the family on their sad loss.