By GUY WILLIAMS
A former Queenstown woman who was found dead in her apartment in Cambodia on Monday after a suspected heart attack was dedicated to helping underprivileged children, friends say.
Cambodian media reported the body of Anne Copplestone, 48, was discovered after she didn’t turn up for work in Battambang, the country’s second-largest city.
She worked as director of Hope for Cambodian Children, which provides healthcare and education support to impoverished children, for the past three years.
Copplestone’s parents Graham and Sandra ran the Arthurs Point camping ground during the ’80s and ’90s, and she went to Queenstown Primary School and Wakatipu High School.
Tina Clyma (nee Brosig), of Auckland, says the news came as a “real, real shock” to her and a close circle of friends who graduated from the high school in 1989.
She last saw her friend in January after she’d spent Christmas with her mother and sister in Whangarei during a trip home from Cambodia, and spoke to her again only 10 days ago.
Clyma says after a long career as a travel agent, Copplestone decided to change direction and pursue a passion for working with underprivileged children, first in Australia’s Northern Territory and then in Cambodia.
She loved Cambodia and its people.
“It was her place.
“Everyone just adored her.”
Such was her dedication, she’d turned down her boss’s offer to fly her home to New Zealand after the outbreak of Covid-19.
“She said, ‘who’s going to run the place and look after everyone?”‘
Clyma understands Copplestone will be laid to rest in a Battambang temple.
Another friend, Victoria Robertson, of Queenstown, says she and other old resort friends kept in regular touch with Copplestone.
She had planned to visit her in Cambodia with her family this year.
Her friend will be remembered by many longtime resort residents from her years working as a travel agent at House of Travel in Shotover Street.
She had a gentle-natured, quiet personality.
“She had a really kind, caring nature.”