Weather: Canterbury floods – Tributes for truck driver killed by falling tree during storm

A man killed when a tree fell on his truck as he drove through Canterbury’s Greta Valley on Monday has been named as 64-year-old father and grandfather Chris Dench.

Dench has been described in online tributes as a good bloke and great man who was taken too soon.

He is survived by his wife Marian, children and grandchildren.

Police confirmed Dench’s name this afternoon.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time,” said a spokeswoman.

Dench was associated with the Kaiapoi Rugby Football Club.

“It is with heavy hearts and great sadness to hear of the passing of Chris Dench,” the club posted on Facebook.

“Sincere and deepest condolences to Marian and the family.

“Chris and the entire Dench family have given so much to the club over a very long time, he will be sadly missed.”

After the club announced the death other members expressed sadness and shock.

“Chris (was) a wonderful man to all, was truly loved by both family and friends,” said one person.

“He was also a fantastic father figure to the many young rugby players that he managed during his lifetime.”

An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

However they said earlier that indications were that a tree had fallen on the truck as it was travelling on Greta Rd.

Dench was the only person in the vehicle at the time.

Another car in the area at the time was forced onto the side of the road but was not directly involved, a police spokesperson said.

The death will be referred to the Coroner who will make the final determination on how Dench died.

A funeral will be held for Dench in Rangiora on Friday afternoon.

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