Hundreds of people attend a public memorial to celebrate the life of country music star John Grenell

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More than 500 people gathered in Christchurch on Saturday to celebrate the life of Kiwi country musician John Hore Grenell.

Friends, family and fans of all ages gathered at the James Hay Theater at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The singer and songwriter, who recorded his first record in the 1960s as John Hore, was best known for his version of Welcome To Our World.

He died last week at the age of 78 following a heart attack.

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A public memorial service celebrating the life of Kiwi country musician John Hore Grenell was held in Christchurch on Saturday.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

A public memorial service celebrating the life of Kiwi country musician John Hore Grenell was held in Christchurch on Saturday.

People stopped at the entrance to the theater to sign a souvenir book for the singer and songwriter.

It was a musical memorial service with songs and stories.

Candles were lit in front of a stage where Grenell’s songs were performed as the crowd sang.

Grenell was born in 1944 in Ranfurly, Central Otago, according to biographies by the New Zealand Music Commission and Christchurch City Libraries.

He grew up on the family farm in Kyeburn and attended Otago Boys High School in Dunedin.

Grenell toured the world in the 1960s and released a string of hit albums and singles. By age 19, he had sold 100,000 records.

The singer and songwriter was best known for his version of Welcome To Our World.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

The singer and songwriter was best known for his version of Welcome To Our World.

In the 1970s and 1980s he took a break from the music industry to help set up a hiking tourism business in Queenstown. He returned to the music industry in the late 1980s as John Grenell and released more hit records.

Grenell ran a farm at Whitecliffs, Canterbury, and bred horses.

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