In this regular feature, editor Ilona Hanne takes a look at what was making the headlines in the Stratford Press in years gone by. This week, we take a walk down memory lane to November 1969.

The then minister of transport, Mr Gordon, gives his wife a helping hand into the aircraft.
The then minister of transport, Mr Gordon, gives his wife a helping hand into the aircraft.

When the then Minister of Transport, the Hon J B Gordon, visited Stratford to open the new testing station in the town, he came by plane.

He is pictured assisting his wife into the aircraft as they prepared to fly on to Auckland.

The minister, who was born in Stratford, and his wife flew from Wellington in a twin-engine plane, opening the station and then spending the night in the town before flying on to Auckland the next day.

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The Minister was one of four children of Drs Doris and William Gordon.

John Bowie Gordon, commonly known as Peter, was a flight lieutenant and pilot in the Air Force during World War II and became the Member of Parliament for Clutha in 1960.

A member of the National party, he retired as MP in 1978 for health reasons. Before he retired he had been Minister of Labour and Minister of State Services as well as having been Minister of Transport and Minister of Railways.

Youngsters Chris Burgham and Peter Adams (back) enjoyed exploring the new sandpit at the Toko Playcentre, while Lee Kilsby (front) played with a bucket.
Youngsters Chris Burgham and Peter Adams (back) enjoyed exploring the new sandpit at the Toko Playcentre, while Lee Kilsby (front) played with a bucket.

Toko youngsters were excited when the Toko Playcentre re-opened in November 1969.
It had closed temporarily when the house which had been used for the Playcentre became unavailable.

Pictured are youngsters Chris Burgham, Peter Adams and Lee Kilsby playing in the new sandpit.

The new centre opened in an old railway house, near Toko railway station.
The centre's committee put in a successful tender for the house, and then held a series of working bees to get the house ready for use.

In 1969, the Stratford Press reported the Toko Playcentre had 25 children on the roll and was open twice a week, on Monday and Thursday mornings.

June Ogden, a cadet officer in the Nursing cadets of Stratford St John's Ambulance Brigade, received a Grand Prior Badge award in November 1969.
June Ogden, a cadet officer in the Nursing cadets of Stratford St John's Ambulance Brigade, received a Grand Prior Badge award in November 1969.

June Ogden, a laboratory technician at the Stratford Hospital and a cadet officer in the Nursing cadets of the Stratford St John's Ambulance Brigade, received a Grand Prior Badge at a presentation ceremony in New Plymouth in November 1969.

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The Stratford Press reported that it was the highest award that could be gained by a nursing cadet, and was the first time a Stratford cadet had received it.

Cadets had to pass 12 subjects as part of the award, taking an average of four years.

As well as receiving the Grand Prior badge, June Ogden also received her Silver Medallion in the Duke of Edinburgh Award at the presentation.

Stratford Mountain Club members were hard at work in November 1969, finishing the last stage of building the Manganui Lodge.
Stratford Mountain Club members were hard at work in November 1969, finishing the last stage of building the Manganui Lodge.

Stratford Mountain Club members were working hard in November 1969, as they raced to finish the final stage of building the Club's Manganui Lodge.

The lodge, 4000 feet up Mt Taranaki, was designed to provide sleeping accommodation for 26 people, as well as toilet and bathroom facilities, general storage and ski rack lockers.