Old boy gives back to his for­mer school

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - RE­BECCA MOORE

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.

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