Doug Wilson walks the talk
Doug Wilson’s colourful past is a book in itself, but his latest story is on a light-hearted note.
At 80 years young Wilson has held numerous titles in his lifetime, but his latest was endearingly bestowed on him by his neighbours.
Wilson is now the unofficial head of ‘The Old Farts Village.’
The Old Farts Village was termed by residents for their group of flats in New Plymouth.
‘‘I love this place like it is my own home. It gives me something to do and it stops me from getting amnesia,’’ Wilson said.
The ‘village’ is among 140 bedsits and one-bedroom units New Plymouth District Council rents to seniors. For Wilson it is more than an affordable roof over his head, it is a home near his family where he can indulge his passion for gardening.
Wilson moved to the village five years back and is pivotal in helping neighbours to come out of their shells. He keeps them in fresh vegies and is a frequent prize winner in the annual Housing for the Elderly garden contest.
‘‘Doug’s definitely had a huge impact on this block of flats, in particular he has encouraged and inspired others to do gardening and other things,’’ Housing for the Elderly co-ordinator, Kaye Thorpe said.
The former Local Hero medal winner in the New Zealander of the Year awards said he was always community-minded, history shows he goes next level to walk his talk.
Wilson spearheaded the Marfell garden project, walking from the cape to the bluff raising awareness for glaucoma and trekking across Australia to promote another cause are a few of his epic feats. ’’Ive got one big walk to do yet,’’ he said.
For now his feet are firmly on home soil and his ongoing mission is to improve the lives of seniors. ‘‘There’s too many of us oldies doing nothing and we were bought up to do hard work.
Wilson is brimming with ideas and wants to see the council hire a bus and get all the NPDC elderly tennants on board for a tour of each others ‘villages’ and a cuppa. ’’They will get what the elderly are feeling and inspire goodwill.’’
The number of elderly in the district is rising and demand for the units is high, with a waiting time of up to three years, but the council is committed to providing affordable homes to those who qualify.
Doug Wilson, a man of many dimensions.