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langford family

In December 2019, Willoughby residents Anthony, Kristine, Jesse and Winona Langford were on the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand. Tragically, three of them never returned home after losing their lives in a volcanic eruption on White Island.

After several years of planning, a commemorative plaque for Anthony, Kristine and Winona Langford will be unveiled on December 6 at East Willoughby Preschool (EWPS). The sole family survivor of the tragedy, Jesse Langford, will attend the ceremony along with family members, friends, Willoughby Mayor Tanya Taylor, Councillor Angelo Rozos, and the EWPS community.

The Preschool was a very meaningful place for the Langford family. After attending himself as a child (the community preschool has been in existence since 1946), Anthony Langford sent both his children, Jesse and Winona, there. His wife Kristine worked there in administration for many years until resigning in 2015.

Image: East Willoughby Preschool website

According to the Preschool’s Director, Anna Gregory, even after she finished working, Kristine continued to visit staff and children on a volunteer basis.

“Kris would continue to lead the charge with our volunteer bike days, and popped by to help with our worm farm whenever she could.”

As teenagers, both Jesse and Winona also continued their association with the Preschool via part-time jobs and community service.

Kristine’s friend and former EWPS colleague Vicki Hoskins was instrumental in advocating for a commemorative plaque at the Preschool. Willoughby Council were also generous with their support including a financial grant to make the plaque possible.

langford family
The Langford family: Jesse and Winona (standing) and Anthony and Kristine. Image courtesy of Vici Hoskins

Says Vici, “To me, the Langford family embodied a real sense of community and an old-fashioned commitment to family. I’m thrilled that there will be a permanent recognition of their contribution to the community”.

Those with a connection to the Langford family are warmly invited to attend the unveiling of the plaque on Tuesday December 6 at 3.45pm at East Willoughby Preschool, 15 Warrane Road Willoughby.