Members put their stamp on old school
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.
Club members, from left, Louise Brownie, Rick Oxenham, Elspeth Wells, Josh Black, Sue Simmonds, Barry Johnson and Mike Harvey.