A personal note from CatWalk founder Catriona Williams
“Dear CatWalk family, Iike many of you I’m struggling to find a way to reflect the great loss and sadness I feel at the passing of our ‘gentle giant’ and national patron Sir Brian Lochore, the friend we knew as BJ.
“We’ve truly lost a great person. Brian was so proud of New Zealand, and of the Wairarapa, and he oozed a mana that was indescribable.
“I feel personally fortunate to say he’s been one of my favourite friends for a long long time. When I’d won something big or done something exciting with the horses, Brian would ring and quietly say ‘well done.’ He and Pam were one of the first to visit me in Burwood. The nurses were all in awe but to us he was just BJ.
“He attended many of our early CatWalk events and later on in 2012, there was a serious dinner hosted by Sir Jerry Mataparae at Government House in Wellington for all the country’s famous Sirs and Dames … it was very exciting when Brian took me along as his guest. Date night!
“Thursday when we say goodbye will be tough because like me, he made many of you feel special, especially when he wrapped our little paws in his big hands. If only we could replicate him again and again, but of course, there’ll only be one Brian.
“You can read more about Brian on our website: https://www.catwalk.org.nz/about/supporters/#1553129676415-ce8b0607-eaec and it makes me smile when I read the story about how young Brian’s pony Winkle travelled to horsey events in the back of the family Chev with his head out the window. Have wheels will travel… a common wheelchair motto!
“While we all know what he did on the rugby field, it’s what he did off it that moves me just as much. From the highest events in the land to local ‘do’s’ here in the Wairarapa, Brian was so generous with his time and energy and we were so fortunate to have him as part of the CatWalk Team.
“BJ was often asked to speak at functions. When asked for payment he’d say ‘please just make a donation to CatWalk,’ so we would often get a surprise cheque in the post from various groups.
“As one of you wrote to me this week, ‘BJ was such a great man contributing in so many ways. While tonight’s news paid tribute to his place in rugby, his death sees CatWalk lose the king of its loyal patrons.’
“So from all of us, and from the bottom of my heart – thank you Brian, and thank you to Pam, Sandra, Joanne, David and families for sharing you with us.
“We’ll never forget you BJ.”
— Catriona x