Fatal Kumeū crash victim 'had a heart of gold'

Errol Downey, left, had a passion of training horses. He did so for nearly 30 years.

Errol Downey, left, had a passion of training horses. He did so for nearly 30 years.

Auckland’s Errol Downey meant the world to his family.

The 68-year-old died in a car crash in Kumeū, Auckland shortly before midnight on November 3.

His death marks a grim period for the country as the death toll of 353 nears 2016’s with a few months to go.

Errol Downey, pictured third from left, had a heart of gold, his oldest son says.

Errol Downey, pictured third from left, had a heart of gold, his oldest son says.

Errol Downey’s eldest son Roydon Downey says his father was like most people’s old man.

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“Basically, he was my idol. He had a heart of gold, and he had time for anyone.

Errol Downey was a keen Harley Davidson rider.

Errol Downey was a keen Harley Davidson rider.

“There’s going to be a lot of people that are going to fairly miss him.”

Errol Downey died at the scene with friend Sean Dwyer, 56, when the car they were travelling in hit a tree on Access Rd.

The pair were among five people who lost their lives over weekend in various crashes, pushing the country towards one of the highest road tolls since at least 2010.

The current road toll is 50 more than for the same period in 2016. 

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Roydon Downey said Dwyer was a “good mate” to his father.

“They spent a lot of time together and he was a good fella to knock around with.”

Errol Downey, a Kumeū resident, had a love of horses and spent nearly 30 years as a trainer.

“He was a passionate fan of horse harness racing and loved breeding horses,” Roydon Downey said.

“He started as a owner. He then gave a it a crack as a trainer and eventually he ended up getting a really good horse in Sanchiola.”

That horse won him 15 races, got him through tough financial times and put him on the map as a trainer, Roydon Downey said.

His father’s legacy would also live on through his mares that were due to foal soon.

Errol Downey’s love of riding also drew him to motorcycles.

“He was a big fan of Harley Davidsons. He owned a few of them. Whenever the weather suited he’d go riding – he called himself the fair weather fisherman.”

Roydon Downey said his father instilled a good work ethic in him.

“He’d give you the old sort of: hard work never hurt no-one.”

“There was plenty of things that he didn’t want to do, or work for, but he did them anyway. That was his sort of attitude.”

The motorcycle enthusiast also had a black dog, Mota, for several years that was his “best mate”.

Errol Downey grew up Glenfield and attended Westlake Boys’ High School, on Auckland’s North Shore.

He had a painting and decorating business, which his youngest son Hayden Downer would look at taking over, Roydon Downey said.

In a Facebook post, Roydon said his father meant the world to his family. Roydon Downey would miss the beers and life advice his father gave him, he said

Errol Downey was survived by children Roydon, Stephanie and Hayden Downey, and the childrens’ mother Dianne Downey, which he separated from 15 years ago.

Roydon Downey said the family would take his father in a convoy of about 30 motorbikes led by his two sons in his XR-8 Ford, with Mota, on November 10.

The convoy would drive through Kumeū, the trotting track and then to Henderson for his service at the Morrison Funeral Home at 12:30 pm.

Attempts to contact the family of Dwyer have been unsuccessful.

 – Stuff

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Craig Ballantyne

I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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