A Tauranga trust celebrated a milestone achievement today when it hit the $1million donation mark to Tauranga charities and organisations.
To mark the occasion Legacy Trust opened the new extension to Tauranga Park in Pyes Pa.
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges and Gregory Brownless open the new Tauranga Park facility.
Gregory Brownless shows Simon and Natalie Bridges coffins inside the Tauranga Park’s new extension.
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges attended the event, with wife Natalie and 100 invited guests, including funeral industry representatives and charities from around the Bay.
Legacy Trust is the brainchild of Gregory Brownless, who after spending six weeks working with the bodies of the 3500 victims of the Boxing Day tsunami, he decided to give back to the community.
“It made me think about my priorities. I learned a lot about life and death, returning home I felt quite unsettled.”
Two years later in 2007, Gregory decided to donate his funeral business, which he started in 1990, to Tauranga.
Since then, all of the profits from Legacy Funerals have gone to the Trust – which then gives the money to various organisations and charities in Tauranga.
Gregory says it is indescribable to reach the $1million mark, and the Tauranga Park extensions will only increase the amount of money the Trust can deliver to the community.
Waipuna Hospice CEO Richard Thurlow received that takes Legacy’s donations to $1million today.
Cheques were also presented to the TECT Rescue Helicopter, Homes of Hope, Breast Cancer Support Services Trust and The Men’s Shed.
Simon Bridges felt “somewhat inappropriately elated” inside the funeral home.
“It’s so good to see the money that comes here ploughed back into the community.
“If you had $1million, would you give it away? That’s pretty challenging – I don’t know if I would.
“But Greg did, it’s remarkable really.”
He says the Men’s Shed – an occupational charity for men more than 65 years old - has given him an excellent idea of what to do with his father-in-law.
“It’s a happy day for what I know will be a special place that will keep on giving for years to come.”
The extensions to Tauranga Park include a new office, casket room, mortuary, refrigeration unit and crematorium.
Legacy Funerals director Mike Savage says the extensions will allow the company to provide more services and ultimately make more money for the trust.
“For 10 years we have been working towards this.”