Deserved Honorary Life Membership Awarded to Ross Gray

By Hamish Gilchrist

On Monday, 24th June 2024, Ross was presented with his award for his 18 years of dedication, hard work and service to the Christchurch Civic Trust.

To say that Ross Gray has left some big shoes to fill is somewhat of an understatement.

Before stepping down from the Board last July and until his untimely resignation from the Civic Trust Board at the recent AGM due to continued ill health, Ross had served on the Civic Trust Board a grand total of 18 years.

From 1995 until 1999 and then from 2011 until this year. From 2016 to 2021, he served as Deputy Chair, followed by taking the Chair until his resignation at this year’s AGM. Amazing!

Deserved Honorary Life Membership Awarded to Ross Gray

His involvement in activism goes back even further, however. In 1986, he was involved with the opposition to the proposed Sky Tower in Victoria Square, which fortunately was scrapped.

His unwavering hard work for the Trust has always amazed everyone who knows him. His seemingly inexhaustible energy saw him spend countless hours of research and writing, at all hours of the day and night, preparing submissions and often verbally delivering them to the council personally. It’s a wonder he found time to sleep!

His expertise and skills as an artist and Art teacher have proven invaluable on many displays and projects. His setting up of Shop 7 in Cathedral Junction was very successful, the only place in Christchurch where people (many visiting from overseas) could come and see the more than 250 buildings lost to the quakes and the wrecking ball. Shop 7 struck such a chord that it was awarded a Christchurch City Council Civic Award for its outstanding display. A few years later, again in Cathedral Junction, in a space directly opposite Shop 7, he conceived and brought together a tremendous installation, this time for raising awareness and funds for the restoration of McLean’s Mansion.

Ross’s tireless championing of the Mansion (he was the Chair of the Fundraising Group) saw him spending many, many hours designing displays and posters and, for this informative installation, telling the story and history of the Mansion, prompting some substantial donations helping to secure its future.

In 2021, The City recognised his efforts with a Christchurch City Council Award for Heritage Preservation at a ceremony in the restored Town Hall, fittingly the very building that he so passionately submitted for restoration.

His willingness to get involved in so many causes is a true measure of his character and dedication to our city.

We cannot thank him enough, but we will try to honour his energy and hard work as the trust continues. At our last Board Meeting, it was agreed that we acknowledge Ross’s huge contribution by making him an Honorary Life Member of Christchurch Civic Trust. No one deserves it more. 

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