A MANXMAN and his wife have lost their home in the Christchurch earthquake.
Billy and Marian Quayle’s bungalow was only approximately two kilometres from the epicenter of the shallow 6.3 magnitude quake which hit the city on February 22.
Billy, 79, originally from Patrick, emigrated to New Zealand from Peel in 1959 with Peel man Stewart Quirk.
He was a stalwart of the Canterbury (NZ) Manx Society and visitors were sure of a true Manx welcome.
Long time friend Allen Quirk, who lives in Auckland, has been in touch with the couple. He said: ‘He was outside chatting to a neighbour when the quake hit. His home collapsed before his eyes.
‘Marian was at the supermarket and dived under a table. She managed to get out, but it was five hours before they were able to contact each other.’
The couple are staying with family in the suburbs, as their own house in uninhabitable.
Mr Quirk said: ‘I was speaking to him last night, with great difficulty as all communication to Christchurch is very limited.
‘Both Billy and Marian are very traumatised, understandably so, considering there has been something like 3,700 aftershocks since the original earthquake last September.’
That earlier quake struck on September 4 last year, and although of 7.1 magnitude and causing £1.9bn in damage, was deeper and further from the city.
He added: ‘Billy’s house was, for want of a better way of putting it, a history of the Isle of Man with many artefacts and photos – all destroyed.
‘We would just like to pass this message to all of Billy’s friends and family still in the Isle of Man who cannot get in contact with him because of the lack of telephone contact. We wish him and Marion well for the future.’
Margaret Crellin (nee Barron) and her husband Vic, who live in the Wirral, have stayed with Billy and Marian Quayle on two occasions when visiting New Zealand. ‘They always welcomed Manx folk to their home and raised the Manx flag whenever any visitors connected to the Isle of Man visited them,’ she said.
Billy is a brother of the late Frank Quayle, the well-known grocer and antiquarian whose shop in Castle Street is where Mannin Connections is now. Frank’s widow Doreen still lives in Peel.