Old boy gives back to his former school
He has made his own success, now Southland Boys’ High School old boy Brian Roberts is giving back to the school he says shaped him.
Last Thursday he visited the school to donate funds towards the school’s hostel gates and a souvenir cricket bat signed by the New Zealand Cricket team in 1958 which included Southland Boys’ old boy, teacher, hostel master and former rector Jack Alabaster.
The bat will be displayed in the school’s museum.
Roberts, who is originally from Lumsden, bas been successful as a dentist, lecturer and has specialised in prosthodontics and restorative surgery.
He has qualifications, fellowships and consultancies from several colleges and clinics in Scotland, the United States and Australia, but is now retired as a professor at Sydney University and head of department at Westmead Centre for Oral Health.
Now he wants to give back to the school he said he still had a strong connection to, including staying in contact with other for- mer students throughout the years.
‘‘I’ve had a good life and it’s now that I’m getting older that it’s time to give back.
‘‘The [school’s] hostel and school have shaped me to be independent and work quite hard to achieve something for myself.’’
He did not want to say how much he put towards the new hostel gate but said it was ‘‘a sizeable donation’’. The project is expected to take place next year.
But the bat, which Roberts bought from an auction in London, had more sentimental value as it contained the signature of Southland man Jack Alabaster who played cricket for New Zealand for many years. He recognised the ‘J.C.Alabaster’ signature and won with the only bid placed on the bat.
Alabaster, now 87 and living in Alexandra, was a former old boy, teacher, hostel master and rector of the school, as well as being a professional cricket player for a time.
Roberts wanted to donate the bat to the school museum, so visited Alabaster, his former maths teacher, in Alexandra to get the bat signed again, then handed it over to the school’s museum last Thursday. The bat will be on display alongside 137 years of the school’s history memorabilia.
Southland Boys’ High School archivist Lynley Dear, old boy Brian Roberts and rector Simon Coe check out the miniature cricket bat donated to the school’s museum.