Some big-hearted Horowhenua people have undertaken a project to help a man who was badly burned in a gas explosion that also partially destroyed the campervan he lived in.

Foxton's Phil Kettle, owner of Tackle Tactics, and friend David Stuart are giving up their free time to restore the vehicle, which wasn't insured, with the help of local businesses who have donated materials for the project.

Retired great-grandfather Basil Lloydd was hailed a reluctant hero after hauling himself into the driver's seat of his burning motorhome and driving it away from other campers while his legs were on fire in the explosion, which happened in Taupo last month when a gas leak ignited.

Mr Lloydd said he had installed a freezer but didn't tie off the gas lines properly.


"In my stupidity, when I reconnected the gas hose, I never sealed it off," he said. "I had the bottle turned off, but I never sealed it off or took the bottle out of the motorhome."

Mr Lloydd had purchased the camper to fulfil a dream he had shared with his late wife of touring the country in their retirement, selling the family home to do so.

He didn't have full insurance cover for the campervan, having given money to friends towards deposits for their homes when he sold the house, so said money was "a bit tight".

Mr Kettle and Mr Stuart came to the rescue after hearing of the accident, offering their time and energy to strip and restore the campervan.

Mr Stuart, managing the project, said work was progressing well on the vehicle with willing helpers, including Mr Stuart's wife Shelley and Tackle Tactics employee Bryan Cardiff, spending many hours stripping out and cleaning up most of the damage, which was significant.

An antenna system has been donated by Superior Aerials in Levin, and two roof vents supplied free of charge by Gypsy Caravans.

ITM Foxton has donated all the plywood panels needed to re-line the vehicle, while Bruce Jack Panel and Paint has offered finishing and painting services.

Scott Fibreglassing carried out large fibreglass inlay repairs and Tackle Tactics supplied storage, welding, and finishing of the fit out.


Mr Stuart said they would be extremely grateful for any further help from the local community, and still needed to source curtains and tracks, a gas stove and heater as well as sponge rubber and fabric covers for the beds, which were destroyed by the fire.

Anyone who can help can contact Tackle Tactics 06 363 5957 or David Stuart 021 481 507.