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'He was my all time hero': Tributes pour in for former marine and rugby world cup winner who rescued people trapped in deadly earthquake

By Alex Ross | Aldridge | News | Published:

Kevin Carr, who lived in Walsall, has died aged 45.

Kevin Carr with rugby World Cup in 2015

Tributes have flooded in for a former Royal Marine from the Black Country whose extraordinary life saw him become part of the All Black's World Cup winning team.

Kevin Carr also received the highest possible honour in New Zealand after rescuing people trapped in the Christchurch earthquake seven years ago.

And in the face of death, on being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, he raised £55,000 for a young girl whose mother died from cancer.

Kevin Carr at rugby World Cup final at Twickenham

Today his brother, Paul Carr, who runs Paul Carr's Estate Agents, paid tribute to him, describing Kevin, whose nickname was Chalky, as his 'all-time hero'.

"His life was filled with action, achievement and positivity - that fact he was an Englishman and part of the All Blacks is only testimony to the person he was," he said.

Kevin was born in Sutton Coldfield, but moved to Aldridge as a young a boy, living in Hallcroft Way and attending St Mary's Primary School and then Queen Mary Grammar School for Boys in Walsall.

While at the grammar school he was made Regimental Sergeant Major of its military cadet force, before signing up for the Royal Marines aged 18.

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He served around the world before meeting his wife Sarah in New Zealand, where he decided to resettle, joining the country's Royal New Zealand Navy as a recruitment officer.

Kevin Carr at Queen Mary Grammar School for Boys in Walsall

It was while working, on February 22 in 2011, when the Christchurch earthquake struck.

He led a team of navymen and women to rescue survivors trapped under collapsed building, risking his own life.

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As a result he received the Order of New Zealand, the highest possible honour from the country.

Paul said: "While everyone was running away, he led a team straight into the danger, pulling people out of collapsing buildings. It was an example of the selfless person he was."

Lieutenant Commander for the Royal New Zealand Navy, Kevin Carr was awarded a bravery medal by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae for helping save lives in the CTV building collapse.

Away from work he married Sarah at St Mary's Church in Aldridge in 1999 and they had two children, Jamie, aged 15, and Joshua, 13.

Through his love for rugby he also became manager of Canterbury Rugby Union, and then was asked to become logistics manager for the All Blacks in 2014.

The role saw him receive a World Cup winner's medal from Prince Harry at Twickenham in 2015.

Kevin Carr, part of the All Blacks team, being greeted by Prince Harry on the World Cup win in 2015

But in 2016 he was forced to step down when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was one battle he was to lose, and in June last year he was told the cancer was terminal.

In response, he decided to raise money for a young person affected by cancer - Isla Lunn, whose mother died from cancer - by setting up the Chalky Carr Trust, raising £55,000 for the young girl.

However, on January 21, Kevin died at Nurse Maude Hospice in Christchurch with his wife bedside.

Kevin Carr with Isla Lunn, who he raised money for before he died

A funeral attended by 500 people from the world of sport and armed services took place in Christchurch followed by a private cremation. He has asked for his ashes to be scattered at Mount Cook in New Zealand.

But his trust will go on, raising money for people affected by cancer. He is survived by his mother Maureen and brothers Paul and Michael.

Paul said: "He was my youngest brother and all time hero. He was the man I wanted to be when I grew up.

"He was an extremely popular person who had a desire only to help others. We miss him so much.

"He is someone of whom the whole family is rightly very proud."

Kevin Carr

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said: "This is an incredibly sad.

"Chalky gave so much to everyone during his time in rugby, and his selfless action in helping set up Isla for the future says so much about the man."

The Chalky Carr Trust has received the backing of many celebrities in New Zealand.

Kevin Carr

Chairman Brett Gamble said: "The death of Chalky is a huge loss for the world, but he will remain an incredible role model as the foundation continues to help others in his memory."

Anyone wishing to donate to the Chalky Carr Trust should visit https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/chalkys-chairs

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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