Alan Sullivan with the coffin he's made for his funeral. it's now on loan for Opihi College's Horror in H Block fundraiser.

by Claire Allison

Alan Sullivan’s hand-carved figure of himself.

He is not planning to use it for a while yet, so when Opihi College came asking to borrow his coffin, Temuka man Alan Sullivan was happy to oblige.

The 89-year-old’s bright green coffin – acknowledging his Irish heritage – is one of many props called into service for the college’s “Horror in H-Block” fundraiser being held on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

The second storey of the now-disused old classroom block has been transformed into a terrifying tableau, and will be open to the public from 6.30pm to 9.30pm for the two nights. Stalls, raffles and food and drinks will also be on offer.

Mr Sullivan said he had made three or four coffins and sold them off over the years.

A joiner by trade, he had always worked with timber, and while he got some funny reactions at times from people on finding out he had made his own coffin in readiness for his funeral, he said it made sense – especially given the price of some.


“I’ve made it a bit small, they reckon, but I said they will just have to shoehorn me in.”

Mr Sullivan has a plot in the Temuka cemetery, he has his carved headstone ready – with just the final date to add – and a couple of carvings to sit alongside it.

In the meantime, he is happy for his handiwork to be put to good use, and once it returns, he will store it in the shed until it is needed.

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