‘Har­mony’ comes at last

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By ES­THER LAUAKI

Lor­raine Gray will em­bark on an emo­tional jour­ney to Hol­land this Fri­day to un­veil a mon­u­ment in hon­our of a war hero she never met, but knew by heart – her fa­ther.

Trevor Gray was one of three Kiwi crew­men on the RAF Welling­ton Bomber X9976 who were killed when they crash-landed their air­craft to avoid the Dutch vil­lage of Alde­boarn, Fries­land, in the Nether­lands, on Novem­ber 8, 1941.

The en­tire crew were killed but hailed as he­roes.

Ms Gray will join the chil­dren of Alde­boarn, who place flow­ers on the crash site each year, where a me­mo­rial to the crew­men is set to be un­veiled.

The Sticht­ing Missing Air­men Me­mo­rial Foun­da­tion and the Fries Mu­seum, in Hol­land, con­tacted Ms Gray at home in Pukerua Bay and of­fered to fly her to Akkum for the spe­cial event.

‘‘I was born two days af­ter he sailed away to join the RAF, so I never saw him, but he saw a photo of me and he sent me a teddy bear,’’ Ms Gray said.

For al­most 70 years she has kept the teddy bear which she called Wimpy, as a re­minder of her fa­ther.

‘‘You grow up and peo­ple stop talk­ing about your dad and it’s gone back to nor­mal. My un­cles and aun­ties never re­ally talked about it be­cause it was still very raw and, as they say, ev­ery­body moved on.’’

She says the oc­ca­sion will be

‘‘very mo­men-

Lor­raine Gray will be pack­ing the art­work, cre­ated by chil­dren at Wai­tan­girua Kinder­garten, to take with her when she trav­els the jour­ney to Hol­land this week. tous’’ and an emo­tional time for ev­ery­one.

‘‘The Dutch are very pas­sion­ate about peo­ple who gave their lives to serve their coun­try. The chil­dren at the school in Alde­boarn learn the story of the crew­men as part of their school peace pro­gramme and I just think peace is such a won­der­ful con­cept for kids to fo­cus on at school. The re­ally im­por­tant thing will be for me to be able to share this with my eight grand­chil­dren and other chil­dren, that’s how I will find har­mony and peace.’’

Chil­dren at Wai­tan­girua Kinder­garten, where Ms Gray is a re­lief teacher, have cre­ated some art­work for her to give to the school in Akkum.

Heavy hit­ters: Ti­tahi Bay ju­nior golfers, clock­wise from top right, Tessa Pokia, Cory Clark, Neo Adams, Jay­den Ford, Ethan Adams and Cruize Wawatai, who will be com­pet­ing in the Ti­tahi Golf Nine Hole Ju­nior Clas­sic on Oc­to­ber 30.

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