BEVAN BAIN 1939-2019
A great friend of Australian Schools Rugby from New Zealand Schools Rugby passed away on 23 January 2019 aged 79.
Bevan Bain was a loyal Kiwi but made many friends around the world and particularly here in Australia. He often visited us in Australia and in particular could be seen in the stand at the Australian Schools Championships when these were held in the various capital cities of our states.
Bevan came from the town of Ashburton – just south of Christchurch and was a loyal Crusaders supporter. He was the old boy of a famous rugby school Christchurch Boys High but was more famous in his home town as a teacher till retirement at Ashburton College.
Bevan is survived by his wonderful wife Julie and their children Justine and Mark. Both live with their families in the same town. Bevan had four grandchildren, one of whom the family lost to cancer at an early age. His first great grandchild will arrive later this year.
I was able to represent Australian Schools at his funeral and further honoured to be asked to speak there. Some more details on this great man are provided in part of my words there and are repeated here:
I first met Bevan in 1983 in Australia when he was on tour as Manager of the NZ Secondary Schools Rugby team. That year I was the Manager of the NSW team and we met in combat at Coogee Oval in Sydney. His team defeated mine.
I also met him in 1994 at a meeting in Bristol in England when we met the French and English for a Schools Rugby meeting. This time he was the touring President of NZ Schools and I was the Manager of Australian Schools.
More importantly we had a much closer rugby relationship on this island – Mainland New Zealand – when he was appointed Liaison Officer for my touring Australian team in 1996.
There has been no finer Liaison Officer! I recall my speech at Christ College after the Test where I referred to Bevan as looking after us like a mother duck with her chicks like you see on the Avon River in Christchurch.
Bevan was the friendliest and most gregarious person I have ever met and it saddened us all when he lost that attribute with the onset of depression.
Many times he came to Oz for the Australian Schools Championships and made many friends in the many states we played matches.
He and Julie stayed with us as well. I remember him coming out of one of our local shops and proclaiming; “Did you know that lady came originally from Dunedin?”. I didn’t!
Also when he got off a bus at my home – he knew how to get around our cities with confidence – “Did you know that Richard the bus driver is from Northland?” I didn’t!
All that time I have had with Bev I have had to learn the nuances of your dialect here in Ashburton. I’ve learnt a lot.
Whilst in Australian eateries Bevan always liked his cappuccinos hot – very hot. Before Ashburton eventually got an Italian restaurant Bevan didn’t know what focaccia was.
However his unique pronunciation of that word turned heads in the restaurants of the Gold Coast.
I always thought the word “wee” meant small. I learnt that wasn’t true, when he was the liaison officer and spoke about the “wee major crime” in Invercargill.
Julie and Bevan were never into high tech and never discovered e-mail technology.
It meant that my correspondence to them was by snail mail.
Bevan told me the story once of your local mail man who delivered to Middle Road asking him:
“Why does your friend from Oz always write on your address COU?”
“That’s easy he responded. I’ve taught him that Ashburton is the Centre of the Universe.”
I used to think it was Delphi in Greece in the Ancient World. I’ve learnt a lot from Bevan.
Bevan was in Oz when my mother died in 2005 and attended the funeral in Gundagai. He stole the show there too.
Of course as I said my main connection with Bevan was with Schools Rugby. I knew his involvement in rugby was local too. He was often telling me about his beloved Mid-Canterbury and of course the Crusaders – as well as those All Blacks who were old-boys from his beloved Boys High and Ashburton College.
He told me how he was often asked to give the best and fairest points and always found some points for a “wee lock”. Bevan of course played as a lock.
At our Australian Championships he used to secretly select his best team and put it in an envelope and later compare it with our selectors’ choices. He was happy to tell them their wee-major mistakes.
However I can’t finish without referring to his love of all his family. All of whom he was immensely proud of. He didn’t tire of telling me about them.
I refer specifically to the loss of young Tom and then the illness of Julie.
Bevan was a very happy man from a very happy family. In fact he often said:
“I am as happy as a bee with a bum full of honey!”
Vale Bevan Bain!