L.R. Belsham

(MAGS 1937 ‘ 1941, 1957 ‘ 1979)

Although Laurie Belsham arrived in Junior 3A in 1937 he was well aware of the School before that since his two elder brothers preceded him here.

In his first two years he played rugby for the 7As and was captain in 1938. In both years the team won the championship.

In 1939 he captained the 6As and played for the 5As in 1940 and 3As in 1941.

Also in his first year he started boxing and in the under 6 stone division he reached the semi-final, beating John Goulding and in the final lost to Keith Sinclair. He was a semi-finalist, too, for each of the next three years; Under 6st 7lb in 1938, under 7st 7lb in 1939 and under 8 stone in 1940.

He had wider interests at school aside from sport. He won a life-saving bronze medal, he was in the dancing class, the Correspondence club, the New Zealand club and was a sergeant in the HQ Company.

Like many young men of his generation Laurie was in the Army almost as soon as he left school. He then transferred to the RNZAF and served overseas as an LAC until the end of hostilities.

Returning to New Zealand he entered Teachers’ Training College and took a BA in geography from Auckland University College where he was a titleholder in boxing.

He returned here to teach in 1957 and was, of course, immediately Master in Charge of boxing. Laurie also coached rugby (from 5A to 1st XV), cricket and in later years he put unaccountable hours into rowing. He gave instruction in machine gunnery, was deeply involved with many annual Town Hall concerts and other productions and even acted in a school play. He had taken over the role of Careers Adviser from Jack Jenkin. Always interested in Old Boys affairs he was elected President for 1967.

To widen his horizon he, and his family, moved to Vauxhall, Alberta where he taught for two years.

He retired in 1969, and resumed his role of Careers Adviser, which he relinquished to Warren Moyes in 1975 to take up a senior position in geography, and at the time of his resignation he was head of the Social Studies department.

Always one for a new challenge he operated a retail business in Mount Albert before going into well-earned retirement.

His funeral on 30 March 2002 was a wonderful celebration of Laurie’s life.

To his widow Phyl and their children, Colleen, Bruce and John and their families the School and the Association offer sincere condolences.

Brian Murphy