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By RACHEL MACDONALD
RANGIORA NEW Life and
Rangiora High schools
have paid tribute this week
to past pupil Lance Corporal
Jacinda Baker, who was killed in
Afghanistan's Bamyan Province
on Sunday evening, along with
two fellow soldiers.
The three, who had been in
Afghanistan since April, had been
seeking medical help for a
colleague at the time.
We're very sad to hear of her
dying in such tragic circumstances
for her country,'' Brian Seatter,
principal of Rangiora New Life
said, while Peggy Burrows, head
of Rangiora High, said the school
offered all condolences to
Jacinda's family at this time.
Jacinda attended New Life in
2000 and 2001, then switched to
Rangiora High in 2002 for her sev-
enth form year -- now year 13.
Sarah Henson, who lives in
North Loburn, met Jacinda at
school, and the pair remained
friends as they ventured out into
She described Jacinda as inspi-
rational in her courage, determi-
nation and ability to live life to the
Jacinda thrived on the chal-
lenge of the army, which she
joined in 2007.
She trained as a medic with the
2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zea-
land Infantry Regiment, based at
Christchurch's Burnham Military
Camp, and received a Chief of
Army Commendation in 2011 for
professionalism and courage
during Exercise Southern Warrior
in June 2008.
She was promoted to Lance Cor-
poral in July the same year.
She loved the outdoors, adven-
ture and trying new things,''
And she was very proud to be a
soldier in the New Zealand Army.
She had enjoyed her deployment
to the Solomon Islands in 2010,
and was excited about being
deployed to Afghanistan and mak-
ing a difference.''
She said Jacinda had a great
laugh and sense of humour and
will be sorely missed as a loyal,
generous and true friend.
My thoughts and prayers are
with her family and partner.''
Jacinda's family says she was
and will always be remembered as
an amazing daughter, partner,
sister, granddaughter, great
granddaughter, cousin, niece,
friend and soldier in the army.
We are still coming to grips
with what has happened and
words cannot express what we are
We feel forever blessed to have
known her in her short 26 years.
She was only nine days away from
her 27th birthday on August 28.''
They say she was a girl full of
FRONT LINE: Ross Bayliss
will ferry the Olympic
medallists along the parade
routes on Friday.
By ABBIE NAPIER
THE SPOTLIGHT will be on
North Canterbury's Ross Bayliss
and his big red bus on Friday
when he carefully chauffeurs 100
returning Olympians through
The ANZ Olympic Team Wel-
come Home parade kicks off at
noon, but before anyone catches a
glimpse of the athletes Mr Bayliss
will be ushering them aboard two
1960s Routemaster Double Deck-
It should be a good day,'' he
said. We checked the route on
Monday to make sure there
weren't any low-hanging
branches. We can't have our
Olympians being whacked in the
Mr Bayliss, who lives between
Rangiora and Woodend, will drive
the open top bus provided by
Hassle-free Tours, from which the
medallists will be able to wave to
It's not that warm up there,'' he
said. But I think the weather
should be good.''
The journey is expected to take
30 to 40 minutes with a few slow
drives past local schools on the
way. My Bayliss said that for
safety reasons he predicted the
athletes would be able to stand
only when the bus was stationary.
Despite all eyes and the nation's
television cameras being on him,
he was not yet nervous. I haven't
thought too much about it,'' he
said. It's nice to have some cel-
ebrity moments at times though.''
His children were jealous of his
close proximity to the nation's her-
oes, but he would not be asking for
autographs, choosing to remain
the professional driver.
I do want to have a good look at
that chap's [rower Eric Murray]
moustache though,'' he said. They
seem down to earth, I don't want
to bother them with all that.''
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