I was born in Durban in 1932. During my, life I made three correct decisions; namely; I chose the right parents, I chose the correct career, and I chose the right wife.
I come from a legal family and I know that my late father would have liked me to have followed in his footsteps, but when I chose to study medicine, he supported me wholeheartedly and gave me the best possible education.
Having completed my medical degree at UCT, I wanted to be a family doctor, but, when I was appointed a junior registrar in paediatrics at the Addington Children’s Hospital in Durban, I decided to become a paediatrician. However, I soon became too involved with my patients and often did not leave hospital to go home for days at a time. After twenty months I applied for a position as a registrar in the X-ray department at the same hospital and was accepted. After study in Durban and London, I went into private radiological practice in August 1965, retiring exactly 30 year later.
I met June, my wife of more than 55 years, at a dance at Smuts Hall Men’s Residence, when she was in her first year at UCT and I was a second year student. We married in Kimberley in June 1957. Throughout our life together she has given her wholehearted support to whatever we choose to undertake. She has been President of two Ann’s Clubs and Co-President of The Inner Wheel Club of Saldanha.
Apart from my professional and Rotary life, I have been fortunate to be able to find time to indulge in many hobbies and other activities.
During the Second World War, my father was a prisoner of war, first in Italy and later in Germany. My maternal grand-mother put me through primary school in Pretoria, clothing me and teaching me much about plants, trees and birds. This love of Nature has remained with me all my life and influenced many decisions about how I should spend my leisure time and holidays.
When my father enrolled me at UCT he suggested that I find time to learn something about my environment in Cape Town and the Boland. He included the architecture in the Cape, local history, and wine. I chose wine! This interest in wine allowed me to be among the first students at the Cape Wine Academy. Having obtained the Higher Diploma at the Academy, I registered for the Cape Wine Master course only to cancel as my radiological practice would not allow me to take three months leave to study for, and write, a thesis while living for that period in the Western Cape. Instead I later joined the Cape Wine Academy Team in Natal lecturing to the Higher Diploma students on the wines of France, Germany, Spain and Portugal. For a number of years I was a lecturer on Wine Appreciation in the extra-mural department of Natal University, both on the Durban and Pietermaritzburg campuses.
During my time living in Durban, I served for seven years as Chairman of the local branch of the International Wine & Food Society. After stepping down as Chairman, I was appointed a restaurant judge for Style Magazine, Natal edition. In partnership with Brian Agar, the father of Rotary E-Club member, Jayne Martin, we formed a wine importing company, A & F Vintners, concentrating on the wines of France, Spain and Portugal. I sold my share of the business when moving to the Western Cape.
As a selector for the Natal Rhodes Scholarship, over six years, I interviewed many wonderful young Natalians at that time. Meeting, speaking to, and interviewing these young graduates, I realised just what talent was present among the youth of those years. This gave me much hope for the future of our country, South Africa.
Travel has taken June and me to many parts of the U. K., Ireland, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Singapore and Malaysia. June worked in Travel when we lived in Durban so we were given opportunities that would not have been possible without her position as a Travel Consultant (Leisure) at Concord Travel.
When plots became available, following the break-up of the Fannin family farm at Dargle in the midlands of KZ/N, June and I bought some land and grew timber and many protea species commercially. We built a dam to irrigate the proteas during winter and stocked the dam each year with Oregon Rainbow Trout. The flesh of these trout was pink, and quite delicious, as they ate many red coloured small fresh water crabs found in the dam.
Music has played an important part of my life. Attempts at learning/playing classical piano were unsuccessful, and when I first heard the Artie Shaw Orchestra in 1940, I was hooked, first on big band music, then on most forms of jazz. Later, with the advent of CD’s, I started listening to classical music as well, concentrating on orchestral music rather than chamber music. Up to this present time, every day I attempt to listen to at least one hour of music, mainly mainstream jazz.
On moving to the West Coast of South Africa, and with the assistance of the Rotary Club of Saldanha, I founded the Probus Club of West Coast (Cape) and became its first President. A few years ago, I was made an Honorary Life Member for ‘Services to Retirement on the West Coast’.
I was a founder member of the 4X4 Club of Velddrif and its first secretary and newsletter editor. I remain an active member of the West Coast Bird Club. I also undertake Bird Atlas work for the Animal Demographic Unit (ADU) at UCT as a volunteer.
June and I have been blessed with two sons.
Craig, our elder son, is the Retail Operations Manager for Spar, Western Cape, having originally trained as a journalist in Durban and working at The Natal Mercury for two years. Craig has a daughter and son living here in the Western Cape. Our grand-daughter, Nicola, is an honours student at Stellenbosch University, studying Child Kinetics, while our grand-son, Robin, is at a private college in Cape Town studying Engineering Drawing and Design.
Our younger son, Glenn, lives in the small county of Tyne & Wear in England with his Scottish wife and twin daughters, who are 16 years old. He is a Chemical Engineer having obtained his degree at UCT. He works for a German company, Bartec, and spends every second week in Hamburg.
I have been collecting the stamps of King George VI for 28 years, and my collection (mint, in sets and un-mounted) is almost complete. June and I are active social members of the Port Owen Yacht Club and some years ago, I served on the committee of this Club for three years, including a year as an executive member.
So even in old age, June and I are kept active and busy – long may this last.
PORT OWEN, VELDDRIF