A chiropractor has followed in the footsteps of his late mate who “touched the lives of many” before dying in a plane crash.
Greg Miles has opened GMC Chiropractors in the same building his former colleague Brett Ireland established his empire.
Ireland was flying with Palmerston North doctor Ralph Saxe in 2012 when a Russian-built Yakovlev-52 acrobatic aeroplane crashed into a sports field near a children’s playground in Timona Park.
Witnesses to the crash at the time believed the pilot, Saxe, was trying to steer the ailing aircraft towards the park, away from nearby houses.
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They described hearing the Yak cruising in the air above southern Feilding with no obvious problems, before a loud bang and a “revving sound” as it fell out of the sky, avoiding rooftops by as little as 100 metres.
The plane hurtled towards the ground at a 45-degree angle, before digging into the ground at “tremendous” speed.
Miles studied with Ireland in the United States, where they became close friends.
Ireland graduated two years before Miles and returned to New Zealand, where he started the Feilding Chiropractic Clinic in 1987.
“He wrote lots of letters to us in the US telling us how well the clinic was going and asking me to join him in practice,” Miles said.
Upon graduating in 1989, Miles moved back to New Zealand with his wife and two children, where he joined Ireland’s practice in Feilding.
“It was a very exciting time being a new chiropractor and working with Brett, who was full of enthusiasm and always ready with a joke, some practical.”
He worked in Feilding for a year and then moved to Whanganui to start his own venture.
Over the years the duo kept a strong friendship, until Ireland’s death.
“When we heard the practice was up for sale, we decided to come full circle and return to our early roots in the district.”
Ireland had often suggested to Miles’ daughter Josephine that she also became a chiropractor.
She graduated last year and is working as a locum at the practice.
While studying, she became good friends with lecturer Dr Joyce Sutton-Davis, who is now the principal chiropractor at the clinic.
“We aim to provide the same good service that Brett provided – taking good care of people and giving them the best health advice.”
Ireland was one of the founding members of the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and ran clinics in Palmerston North and Feilding.
In 2002, after 18 years practicing in the region, Ireland sold his clinics and moved to Australia’s Gold Coast.
He had returned to Palmerston North with his wife for a friend’s daughter’s wedding when he died.