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Saturday, 23 March 2019 10:44 pm

Solway Primary School ex-students gather for 100th party

Apr 19th, 2018 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, Latest News, News


Newest pupil Sam Cole (left) and the oldest pupil Sally Summers, cut the centenary cake at weekend celebrations.

Solway Primary School’s centenary cake was cut by the oldest pupil, Sally Summers (87) and Sam Cole (5), pictured, the newest pupil at weekend celebrations.

Mrs Summers (nee Simpson), started at Solway Primary School in 1935 and is still working in a shoe shop in Masterton.

About 140 people attended the event and many had interesting stories to tell.

For example in 1959 the school fielded a champion team of netballers, a sport then known as outdoor or women’s basketball.

Fast forward 59 years and four members of that team met at the celebrations for the first time in over 50 years.

Christine Entwisle (nee Allen), Heather Pinder (nee Whittaker), Avis Voice (nee Wyeth) and Nola Hodder (nee Jones) enjoyed reuniting, and sharing where their lives had taken them.

Christine now lives in the Manawatu, Heather is in Auckland, Avis is the only one to stay in Masterton and Nola travels around New Zealand and Australia in a house bus with her husband.


Heather brought the original Wairarapa Times Age article about their winning team to the Jubilee.

Each went on to represent the region further.

Christine played senior B basketball for the region while Avis and Heather went on to represent the region playing indoor basketball

Nola played representative badminton and roller skated her way to a national title.

Former pupil and oldest teacher attending the Jubilee, Maggie Farr.

Earlier in that same decade, Maggie Farr (84), right, was a new teacher at the school.

She recalls teaching her younger brother during her one year tenure.

Maggie, who was the oldest teacher attending the celebrations,

moved soon after to Australia where she specialised in working with kids with learning disabilities.

She went on to become an early education advisor with a specialty in literacy.

Maggie retired at 72, and still lives in Australia, is an avid diarist, and writes poetry.


Achievers at centenary who started at Solway

Solway Primary School has produced its share of students who have gone on to excel at regional or national levels.

Three of those students attending the centenary were rugby coach Kim Harris, former motor sports champion Richard Mason and Mayor of Carterton John Booth.

Richard is a five-time New Zealand Rally Champion. He lives in Masterton with his family and although retired from motorsport, he is still involved with cars, running the family vehicle repair business (Pic?)

Past pupil and Carterton Mayor John Booth and granddaughter, Fleur Booth.

John is a member of an exclusive group – his family has seen four generations go through Solway Primary School and he is the fifth member of family to represent the district at local authority level.

Mr Booth is the third Mayor of Carterton from his family.

“My father Sid, me, and my children all attended Solway. Now my grandchildren are here,” he says.

Mr Booth had his old school lunch box on display at the Jubilee.

Kim attended Solway between 1953–1959 and then Wairarapa College where he was Sportsman of the Year in 1964.

After moving to Gisborne he made his mark on the rugby field and took the Gisborne Boys High School Sportsman of the Year in 1965.

“I was incredibly proud when my son won the same trophy in 2002,” he says.

Kim trained as a teacher and returned to Gisborne High School and coached rugby.

He coached the 1st XV for 14 years and his teams won every trophy and New Zealand title, including sevens.

Kim has coached central region teams and well known rugby players the late Jerry Collins, Rico and Hosea Gear and Tom Waldren.

These days he is running a rugby company in the UK coaching schools and clubs and holding rugby camps. He has camps in England, Scotland, Italy, Argentina and Paraguay.


Closure threat now a distant memory

Chairman of the Jubilee Committee and former pupil, Ray Southey.

The Jubilee celebrations are significant for Solway Primary School because it was one of the schools considered for closure in the Ministry of education review of Masterton Schools in 2002.

“The school community fought extremely hard and worked the Ministry to formulate a plan to retain Solway,” jubilee committee chair Ray Southey, right, says.

“The original plan had been to centralise west side education at Cornwall Street School”, Ray says.

“This wouldn’t have worked for all the rural kids. The catchment area for Solway includes rural areas south of the Waingawa Bridge, both east and west and there wasn’t anywhere else to send those kids.”

“In the 15 years since the school was saved, the roll and staff have increased and we have new buildings.”

Ray is a former pupil himself, attending between 1949-55, along with his siblings.

He said it’s been interesting working on the jubilee.

“It’s been a major project and as a part of that the committee has produced a book to sit with the books prepared for the 50 and 75 year celebrations.”

He visited current children at the school two weeks before the celebrations.

“The questions the children asked surprised me. They wanted to know about the strap and asked what we used to write with” he says.


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