Mem­bers put their stamp on old school

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HULBURT

A for­mer school has been given a new lease of life and a dif­fer­ent iden­tity as it of­fi­cially opened its doors again, this time as a stamp col­lec­tors club.

Once a small ru­ral school in Clarence, north of Kaiko¯ura, the Wood­bank School build­ing is now home to the Marl­bor­ough Stamp Col­lec­tors Club, af­ter be­ing shifted to Brayshaw Her­itage Park in Blen­heim.

Af­ter months of re­fur­bish­ment the his­toric build­ing was ready to meet its pub­lic on Satur­day and opened its doors for the first time as a clu­b­room.

Club mem­bers held a special event at the week­end to let mem­bers of the pub­lic see the re­sults of all their hard work.

Marl­bor­ough Stamp Col­lec­tors Club pres­i­dent Barry John­son said he was ’’very grate­ful’’ to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion for the gift of the build­ing.

‘‘Mov­ing and es­tab­lish­ing this build­ing on site was not with­out in­ci­dent,’’ he said.

‘‘On the night of Novem­ber 14 earth­quake, the build­ing was on the re­moval truck but per­mis­sion to move it here was de­layed un­til late Jan­uary this year.’’

It had to be taken off the truck again un­til they got the all-clear.

‘‘The [club] is very grate­ful to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion for gift­ing this build­ing to us to move to Brayshaw Her­itage Park and thus pre­serve it and en­able us to use it as a clu­b­room.

‘‘The move and re­fit of the build­ing has been a con­sid­er­able cost for our small club and on be­half of the com­mit­tee I would like to ac­knowl­edge the sup­port we have had from many.’’

The school of­fi­cially closed on Fe­bru­ary 21, 2014, less than four months out from the school’s 100th birth­day.

Funds for the $65,000 project were raised by the club’s 60 mem­bers and through com­mu­nity grants.

The grants in­cluded 5000 from the Nel­son Stamp Col­lec­tors Club, $500 from the Air Mail So­ci­ety of New Zealand, $15,000 from the Rata Foun­da­tion and $7500 from The Pelorus Trust.

Club mem­ber Louise Brownie said the year-long re­fur­bish­ment was worth the wait.

‘‘She has had a huge makeover. I have done eight grant ap­pli­ca­tions to help with the money side over two years. ‘‘A big ‘thank you’ to all of you that have sup­ported us, we could not have done it with­out you,’’ she said.

PHOTO: RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Club mem­bers, from left, Louise Brownie, Rick Ox­en­ham, El­speth Wells, Josh Black, Sue Sim­monds, Barry John­son and Mike Har­vey.

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