Home gutted by fire week before owner dies of cancer

Zetland Lodge, the West Melton home of Tony and Lyn Prendergast, was severely damaged by fire a...
Zetland Lodge, the West Melton home of Tony and Lyn Prendergast, was severely damaged by fire a week before Tony died of cancer. Photo: Geoff Sloan
A well-respected Canterbury horse trainer who died of cancer on Sunday had lost his house in a fire a week earlier.

Tony Prendergast, 84, died after a battle with cancer, at Nurse Maude Hospice, where he had been taken after the blaze.

Tony Prendergast. Photo: Race Images
Tony Prendergast. Photo: Race Images
Tony’s wife, Lyn Prendergast, managed to get him and herself out through a sliding door in their bedroom of their West Melton property when the fire started at 5pm on August 9.

Their home, Zetland Lodge on Weedons Ross Rd, was destroyed and decades of racing trophies and memorabilia was lost.

Tony’s daughter Jo Prendergast-Lory told The Star yesterday the fire was initially brought under control but reignited about 1.30am, completely destroying it.

“There were all of dad’s diaries that he kept from when he was a young man and he wrote in them every night, racing memorabilia from Hong Kong, Australia and, obviously, all around New Zealand, photos, trophies, dress rugs for the horses, family photos [and] treasures from his home town of Hyde in Central Otago,” she said.

Flames first ignited in the main bathroom of the house, a few metres from the bedroom where Prendergast was. Lyn was in the living room and saw smoke in time to make it to the bedroom and get herself and Prendergast out.

She said fire investigators are still determining the cause of the blaze. But she has been told it was started by an appliance temporarily in the bathroom drying equipment.

Prendergast-Lory said Lyn is “being very stoic, she’s putting on an extremely brave face.

“She’s overwhelmed, but she’s also overwhelmed by everybody’s kindness,” she said.

Lyn Prendergast with the horse she trains, pacer One Direction. Photo: Race Images
Lyn Prendergast with the horse she trains, pacer One Direction. Photo: Race Images

 

 

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