The Board was pleased to present the ‘Eastbournes’ 2013 to the Ray Gough, the Pippa de Court and the Okiwi Volunteers, John Stevenson and David McDougal and the Eastbourne Dunes Protection Group.
Ray Gough was born in England and arrived in New Zealand in 1947 as a young boy when his family emigrated from post war London in search of a better future. (Ray’s earliest memory is of Hitler’s V2 rockets landing on London). The family settled in Days Bay where Ray attended Wellesley College and Ray’s love affair with swimming began, in 1954 Ray won the trophy for the school’s top swimmer.When Ray was 18 the family moved to Sydney as his father wanted to try out a business venture, the venture failed and after two years the family returned to Days Bay. While in Sydney, Ray joined a surf lifesaving club and when he returned to New Zealand, he joined the Lyall Bay Surf Lifesaving Club and was eventually made Club Captain.
In 1967 Ray represented New Zealand at surf lifesaving. Ray conservatively estimates that he has saved around 30 lives at the beach and received a Letter of Commendation from the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand for a rescue that took place on 25 January 1980 when Bill Manihera, an eight-year-old boy, fell into the swollen Hutt River. Two bystanders went to his aid and all three were swept down river, ending up clinging to a log mid-stream. The police arrived 15 minutes later and took charge of the situation. Ray identified himself as a surf lifesaver and volunteered to enter the water, secured by a tow rope he swam out to the log and one at a time brought in the three people in difficulties. The speed of flow of the water and its low temperature made it dangerous for all participants in this rescue but all acted with a lack of consideration for themselves.
Ray has won the Wharf to Wharf swim 16 times, 11 consecutively, he has completed in the Kapiti Island swim 48 times and also trained to swim Cook Strait but was thwarted by the weather.
He is a Life Member of the Eastbourne Swimming Club. So, the boy knows how to swim and has won many titles but this award tonight is to honour his contribution to the Eastbourne community and the Hutt City also. What really drives him is his passion and desire to pass on his love of swimming to anybody (but particularly the young) that shows the slightest interest in wanting to learn to swim. Ray has been coaching swimming on a voluntary basis for 50 years and is currently teaching 150 children each week from schools and swimming clubs.
Eastbourne resident Juliet Salisbury-Mills:
“Ray is the only person who has taught all six of our children. They feel a huge sense of loyalty to him. He overcomes all obstacles to get swimmers believing in themselves, regardless of age, health or confidence. I’ve heard him tell so many parents of children who see stumbling blocks in front of them to ‘pop him on the water and I’ll get him swimming,’ he hops in with that person and does just that.”
Remember all this coaching has been on an unpaid basis, Ray tells me his reward is the thousands of thank you letters he has received over the years. I have brought a few sample letters to show you tonight.
The Eastbourne Community Board is delighted award this “Eastbourne” to Ray Gough.
Thank You Ray. Murray Gibbons
This award is made to all the people of the Okiwi Trust, who have given so much time and energy over the last 40 years to this wonderful service for the elderly of Eastbourne.
Back on a wet July day in 1972, five friends set out to provide a home for the elderly. The ‘famous five’ all became $2 cohorts of a $10 deposit that secured a hold on 107 Muritai Road.
That deposit held the property throughout an active and successful fundraising drive in The Bays. Fundraising activities included dinners, drama performances, art exhibitions, music hall evenings and raffles. The grand sum of $40,000 was raised which is the equivalent today after inflation of around $450,000!! An extraordinary effort. A public meeting approved the project, set up a steering group and the Okiwi House Trust was born.
When the house closed in 2001, the proceeds of the house sale were invested and the income from these investments helps run the current volunteer services.
Today driving coordinator, Pippa de Court, has a list of sixty elderly people who telephone when they need transport. Volunteer drivers take them shopping, to the hairdresser, to specialist appointments and on a myriad of other errands. Every month a group goes to the Lighthouse Cinema and there is a fortnightly expedition to Pak n Save. They also run a twenty-minute service doing small jobs like taking out rubbish and changing light bulbs.
Thanks to these volunteers many elderly people of Eastbourne are able to stay in their own homes in their own community.
The Eastbourne Community Board is delighted to award this “Eastbourne” to Pippa de Court, the current coordinator, and all the volunteers past and present of the Okiwi Trust.
Thank You Pippa. Ginny Horrocks
David McDougal and the Eastbourne Dunes Protection Group – In recognition of their services to Eastbourne through their environmental leadership and dedication to the community restoration of our native dune ecosystems.
David has always had an interest in the environment and became involved in the work of MIRO soon after moving here in 1987. It was a proposal to develop the dune area around HW Shortt Park that focused his mind on not only what could soon be lost, but what also could be achieved if the area was restored. The Eastbourne Dunes Protection Group was founded not long afterwards in 2003.
The first job of the Group was to clear the main weed species that dominated the dunes and this involved help from Hutt City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council. The project was also hugely assisted by the work of international volunteers from the Global Volunteer Network who donated thousands of free hours of their time to the massive project ahead.
Today, the dune group is made up of around twenty remarkable local people, most of who have been there since day one. Many occasional helpers and passers-by assist their work. The beach, says David, has been a wonderful setting to forge lifetime friendships.
The Group’s dedication has seen 25 different native species newly flourish along the coast where once there were only two or three non-native plants. (The group has collectively planted over 13,000 native plants.) Variety and colour have been restored to the beaches — the likes of which haven’t been seen there since Katherine Mansfield wrote about the dunes early last century in her classic short story ‘At the Bay’.
What inspires them? David believes it is the company of friends and seeing native species thrive in a difficult environment. “This is what it means to be a kiwi,” he says. “We might not have the monuments and cathedrals of Europe; but it’s our iconic flora and fauna that help define what it means to be a New Zealander.”
David has volunteered for more than 50 years, helping numerous groups like kindergarten, scouts, marriage guidance, gymnastics, Outward Bound, the Eastbourne Croquet Club, and MIRO. However, you’ll most likely encounter him out on the beach, working to realise the Group’s long-term vision for a restored and beautiful beach landscape. “Hopefully, our work will inspire others to look after to their patch of coastline too.”
The Eastbourne Community Board is delighted to award this “Eastbourne” to David McDougall and the Eastbourne Dunes Protection Group
Thank you David. Robert Ashe
When John and Tracey came to Eastbourne in 1996, we did not know what we were getting!
Coming off a long career in New Zealand Police with considerable experience in community policing John brought a passion for community and service. John had this ethic ingrained in him by his father Keith early in his Dunedin childhood. Setting up his Company Crows Design and Print, he soon became a well-known and respected face around Eastbourne through his very presence and the contacts he made through his work.
However, the John most of us know is the man who serves as a Justice of the Peace and as a Rotarian. He enjoys his role as a Justice of the Peace and has been told that he probably holds some sort of record for the number of witness signatures he has made for people far and wide!
A Rotarian since 2000 he says he has done everything. He was President of Pencarrow Rotary from 2010 -2011. In whatever capacity John holds Rotary Club to its responsibility to keep serving the community first and foremost. The Club has been very active in most Eastbourne events sponsoring and funding many.
Most recently, the successful FIETSABOURNE was an initiative driven by John with the Eastbourne Youth Worker Trust and the Volunteer Fiore Brigade the beneficiaries. At grass roots level, John has a passion for the Eastbourne Volunteer Fire Brigade where he is effectively a member, participating in all activities in a significant support role. He shares this with Tracey who recently retired after nine years of active service. Eastbourne and the Bays Civil Defence have also had the benefit of John’s skills. He stepped up when a volunteer was needed to support Di Asher as Deputy Coordinator with a lead role in communications.
The Eastbourne Community Board is delighted to award this “Eastbourne” to John Stevenson.
Thank you John. Derek Wilshere