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News Archived July 2013

Mike Vane In Moscow

Mike Vane (No. 1378 1969 - 1976) is living and working in Moscow. How did he come to be in such a place? When Mike left Dilworth he joined NZ Mike Vane and Bruce OwenRailways and trained as a locomotive driver, a career which parallels that of the late Ralph Wise (No. 728, 1944 - 1952). Mike had the misfortune to suffer a stroke and his career with NZR was cut short. The stroke did not cause serious physical or mental incapacity, apart from weakness on the right side arm and leg. However, as Mike explains, a stroke can also have significant emotional effects and he found he was losing self confidence and self esteem. This was especially so when he was given an office job with NZR but was sometimes unable to remember simple facts and procedures. Eventually he was forced to leave his railway career, and from that time on he has only been able to take on short-term jobs like working as a traffic controller with road works gangs.


The most frustrating thing for Mike is that his brain is now functioning well and he can do better than hold a “STOP” and “GO” sign at road works. Eventually he decided that what he would like to do was to be able to teach English to non-native speakers. He came to the attention of the Dilworth Old Boys’ Benevolent Trust and, after discussions with chairman Murray Wilton, was enrolled in a TESOL course with financial assistance and advice from the Trust. At the end of the course last year Mike applied for a position in Russia, was successful and was assigned to a school outside Moscow. Before he left at the end of October he met Bruce Owen and Murray Wilton in town and they sent him on his way with the best wishes of the Dilworth community.

Mike Vane in MoscowMike found himself the only native English instructor on the staff and found the going tough to begin with. In addition to teaching classes he gives individual private lessons, and getting to and from the school in deep snow and temperatures hovering around minus 20 Celsius was a challenge for a Kiwi. His “New Balance” shoes are objecting to the Russian conditions and no doubt he will eventually join the masses in their bearskin hats and knee-length snow boots. On one of his free days recently he went with some new-found friends into the central city to see Red Square and the Kremlin. The other places of note he visited were the Tretykov Galleries and St Basil’s, which he described as “breathtaking”. Mike’s contract runs through to the end of the Russian academic year in late June. After that, who knows where he will be!



Paihia Reunion 2012

Some 70 Old Boys and partners signed up for this year’s DOBA Country Reunion in Paihia, the first time we had ventured north for a few years. The Aloha Seaview Resort Motel proved to be a comfortable venue for accommodation and the main reunion event. But first a group calling themselves the Golden Oldies (some might have even been Platinum) met for a convivial dinner on Friday evening at the Al Fresco Bar and Restaurant on the main drag.

Principal Donald MacLean was one of the guests, who included: Theo Davy and Elaine (class of ‘45), Austin Smith and Bobby (’46), Jim Downs and Claire (‘47), Geoff Reynolds (‘49), Brian Levet and Peggy (’48), Hugh Brown (’50), Gavin Fazakerley and Bev (’51), Denis Bradburn and Lorraine (‘51), Bob Bennett (’51), Brian Sinclair (‘53), Murray Wilton and Christine (’54), Roger Pye (’54), John Simpson and Sharon (‘58), Errol Lee and Lynette (‘55), Pat Davis and Glynis (‘56), Graeme Fenton (‘58), Graeme Morris (‘68). The guests included some Old Boys not seen recently. Bob Bennett and Geoff Reynolds had travelled from Australia for the event, and Hugh Brown came up from Christchurch. Such is the attraction of the annual country reunions.

Saturday was a day for relaxation, sport and touring. Three stalwarts braved the sloppy conditions underfoot, following very heavy rain in the North, to play golf at the Waitangi course. Those of a younger and different persuasion smashed each other at paintball, while a more peaceful and relaxing day was enjoyed by others who took the ferry across the Russell to inspect historic places and enjoy lunch at the Duke of Marlborough on the seafront.

Results of the Reunion Golf:  Brian Sinclair (J.D. Wright Burglar’s Trophy), Murray Wilton (Todd-Pikett Cup for best net), Denis Bradburn (Beattie-Cotter Phantom Cup for best gross score and deLautour-Wilton cup for best stableford score). It is worth noting that these three were the only competitors and, according to the royal and ancient Dilworth Old Boys tradition, everyone was a winner. No results were recorded for the paintball battle.

The Saturday evening function featured an excellent meal, followed by a few words from President Adam Hiron. MC Peter Tate controlled the proceedings from there, including the Roll Call, administered by Principal Donald MacLean and former Headmaster Murray Wilton. In the absence overseas of Trust Board Chairman Derek Firth, Donald MacLean announced the appointment of a new Trustee, the well-known corporate and financial guru Roger France. Mr France fills the vacancy left by the retirement four years ago of Old Boy John Potter.

In what has become something of a tradition, Sunday morning featured breakfast cooked by council members. As usual President Adam Hiron’s expertly cooked scrambled egg was a winner. Before departing for points south, all members present agreed that it had been a very successful weekend, and thanks are due to Adam and his council for another well-organised DOBA gathering. See you next year in Taupo.