Thursday, 14 November 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Alf Simpson Drive formally unveiled as a “Poppy Place”

About 100 people attended the formal unveiling of Alf Simpson Drive in Whitianga as the first “Poppy Place” on the Coromandel Peninsula last Sunday afternoon. Among those who attended the unveiling were Alf Simpson’s daughters, Sherri Simpson and Vicki Borowicz, Mercury Bay RSA president, Bruce Collier, Thames-Coromandel District Council mayor, Sandra Goudie, and several of Alf’s family members.

Alf was a World War II veteran and a long-time Whitianga resident. He passed away on 15 August last year, one month before his 90th birthday.

The unveiling was also attended by one of Alf’s extended family members who lives in Perth and is a fellow war veteran.

Alf joined the Seaman Boy Class of the Royal New Zealand Navy when he was 16 years old. He spent several years on board the cruiser HMNZS Gambia. He witnessed Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II and also represented HMNZS Gambia in a victory parade in London on 8 June 1946.

A few years before his death, Alf recorded his experiences in the Navy in a booklet called, “This is my story as a crew member of HMNZS Gambia.” After the national anthem was sung by students of Mercury Bay Area School on Sunday, Ian Diprose, the Mercury Bay RSA chaplain, read a few pages from the booklet. That was followed by a few words from Sandra Goudie, in which she thanked Alf and all the others who served in conflicts around the world for their sacrifices.

The honour of unveiling the street name “Alf Simpson Drive,” proudly displaying a poppy, fell on Richard Simpson, Alf’s brother.

Pictured: Richard Simpson (seated on the right and holding a photo of Alf Simpson in his Navy uniform), Sandra Goudie (seated next to Richard), Sherri Simpson and Vicki Borowics (behind Richard and Sandra), and Bruce Collier (second from the left at the back) with Alf’s family members who attended the unveiling. Houses along Alf Simpson Drive can be seen in the background.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.