Parallels to the past
Just like my Poppa
Beca general manager Andrea Rickard lost two great-grandparents to the 1918 Spanish Flu. With the advent of Covid-19, she encouraged the people around her to get vaccinated. This is the story of her whānau.
"My great-grandparents were two of the 9,000 kiwis that died over the course of just a few months in 1918. Two lost little children, who had just seen their beloved parents die, left their home near Trentham to live with grandparents in Auckland who they didn’t know."
"This is the only photo my grandfather had of him with his dad. Not long after this was taken in 1918, my great-grandfather Staff-sergeant George Rickard got sick, and his young wife came to Trentham Military Camp to look after him. This little boy is my Poppa. He and his sister lost both their parents to influenza less than a week apart.
"Losing his parents at the age of two was a trauma that dramatically changed my Poppa’s life. He always went out of his way to nurture a close family around him and was very close to my Nana’s family, which was like the family he never had the chance to experience. I loved growing up with my grandparents deeply involved in my life, holidaying with them in Taupō and Rotorua, and spending days off school learning to cook, sew, grow veggies, and play cards. It is where I got my passion for food and cooking (and card games) from."
"Imagine if there had been a vaccine in 1918 to protect people like my great-grandparents from this devastating disease? Doing my part to make sure that kids can grow up with parents is just one of the many reasons I'm fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and am counting on others to get their jab for their whānau, friends, family, and our community. Let's learn from the past. Vaccinations save lives and protect us all from the trauma of losing people we love and who care for us, just like my Poppa did."
Spanish Flu in New Zealand killed mostly young people, with those at greatest risk aged between 25 and 40. There were multiple reports of children left orphaned by the 1918 influenza epidemic. George Rickard was 33 when he died, and his wife Elsie, just 24. Their children Irene and Frank, were aged just two and six.