Napier Boys' High School's Anzac Day commemoration next week will welcome back a former student who was recognised in the New Year Honours for his dedication to disability services after being invalided out of the Army following a helicopter accident.

Phillip Blundell, now 63 and living in Upper Hutt, was a head prefect, rugby First XV captain and senior cross-country champion during his seven years at the school (1965-71), and returns as guest speaker for the service.

In 1983, Mr Blundell had started a young family and was working for the New Zealand Army in Waiouru when the Sioux helicopter he was training in crashed, leaving him a paraplegic.

Mr Blundell became involved with the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) in 1985, and joined the national board as vice-chairman from 1986 to 1988. He was DPA representative during the commercialisation of the NZ Disability Resource Centre, and was representative to the NZ Transport Complaints Board for two years during the establishment of the Mobility Parking and Total Mobility taxi scheme.


He joined the Wellington and Hutt Valley branch of the NZ Crippled Children's Society in 1988, becoming national vice-president from 1994 to 1996.

Rising through the ranks of the CCS Disability Action Group (previously known as the Crippled Children's Society), he was appointed to the Board of Access Ability from 2003 to 2012 and was chairman for three years.

He continues to serve as a member of the Wellington branch executive and took up an interim national board position in April last year.

He was involved with the Heretaunga Rotary Club for 18 years, is a member of the Better Hutt Valley Group and is secretary of the New Zealand Poppy Places Trust.

Mr Blundell was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honours, announced on December 31 last year.

The mayor of Napier and representatives of the Napier and Taradale RSAs are expected to be among those at the service this Thursday.