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An earlier Star deliverer 

February 17, 2020 February 2020 No Comments

We received an interesting letter from Val Johns’ brother in law Lloyd who lives in Australia. He wrote; 

“In the 1950s I delivered Charlie Michelle’s Martinborough Star to around 40 or so residents each Wednesday after school for the princely sum of 2/6d. 

( 2020 = $8.72). On every Wednesday, the Star went over the front gate or was stuffed into the letter box if accessible without stopping, but on the last delivery before Christmas, every paper was hand delivered to Charlie’s readers – it was well worth the effort to get off the bike and knock on the back door !

I did this for several years until my bicycle fell apart and Lamb’s garage had great difficulty getting spare parts for it.”

Lloyd attended Martinborough School and the then Martinborough District High where he was head prefect and school dux then moved down to Lower Hutt where to was to study for his Matriculation.

He set out to be a veterinarian and after a year at Hutt Valley High School, enrolled at Victoria University to complete Medical, Dental and Vet preliminaries; “I desperately needed accommodation and managed to get a room in exchange for joining the Fire Brigade as a residential Auxiliary fireman at the Lower Hutt Fire Brigade Central Fire Station in Waterloo Road.”

In  his first year he missed one subject and was not able to qualify for a bursary provided by the Vet Services Council go to Vet school in Australia (this was in the time before Massey had established its Veterinary college) so he stayed on at University part-time and got a job for as a Marine Biological Technician with the NZ Oceanographic Institute situated along Aotea Quay.

The winds of change were blowing, and shorter hours were granted for firefighters and the local CFO gave me a choice of joining permanent staff or vacating my room – and so began 25 years of a job I would not have swapped for the world. I studied hard for both NZ and UK fire engineering exams and found my interest  in the job growing daily and I was moving through the ranks very quickly to become the youngest Station Officer in Lower Hutt and four years later Senior Station officer, (Station Commander).

In the Lower Hutt Brigade I was to apply for a Winston Churchill Travel Fellow in order to study at the UK Fire Service Staff College and after two attempts, a grant was made available and I headed for England. I was attached on operational duties to Birmingham Fire & Ambulance Service for two months prior to attending the College, l in Dorking in the south of England.

The Junior Officer Command Course ran for two full months, during this time that I spent the time in Northern Ireland with two fellow officers from the course. On Orange Weekend in Belfast turning out to 46 calls during the Saturday night and seeing sectarian violence up real close, and the role of the fire service in the midst of it all!!

And so begins a life of considerable adventure which we will feature in next month’s Star. 

Photo caption;  The Johns brothers, Left rear Bruce right Trevor, front left Ivan, and right Lloyd the youngest

PHOTO (2) Lloyd as a Chief Fire Officer in the New Zealand Fire service . (See next next Star. )

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