FLAGS outside Bay of Plenty Regional Council are flying at half-mast to honour the late Arch Delahunty.
Mr Delahunty, a Whakatane-based works engineer for the council, died on Wednesday when the car he was driving was hit by a train at Otamarakau, near Matata.
He had been with the former Bay of Plenty Catchment Commission back in the 1970s and returned to the regional council 12 years ago after many years in business.
“Arch was a well-loved and dedicated member of staff,” regional council chair Doug Leeder said.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of his passing and our hearts go out to his family and friends.”
“His engineering work was an integral part of who Arch was,” rivers and drainage manager Bruce Crabbe said.
“Arch was a humble man with many talents (squash being a questionable one) and a wicked sense of humour. It’s unfair when the good ones go before they should.”
Regional council chief executive Mary-Anne Macleod said Arch’s colleagues and friends within the organisation were struggling to come to terms with the news.
“Arch was part of our extended whanau. His strong connections with people go right through our organisation, so we ask for understanding at this tragically unexpected time.”
Whakatane Squash Club life member Wayne Wills said the whole squash community was similarly in shock.
“It is very sad news,” he said. “[Arch] was active in both the squash and rugby communities.”
He was a long-standing member of the squash club, having done a stint as club president and coaching scores of players.
Mr Wills said he had helped many junior players get to terms with the skills and intricacies of squash.
“He was a qualified level two national coach; he coached many teams for Bay of Plenty eliminations and nationals and helped many junior players get to terms with the skills and intricacies of squash.”
A farewell for Mr Delahunty will be held at 11am on Monday, July 10 at the Whakatane Baptist Church on Keepa Road.