Sir. – On June 2 I was privileged to attend the unveiling of a plaque to the memory of the late Mr and Mrs Grant [Shaw], who were for many years in charge of France House, controlled by the Hawke’s Bay Children’s Home.
The former boys came from far and near and I was amazed at the number who brought their wives.
One of them delivered the sermon in the form of his experiences at France House. He told of his departure from France House with $28 (his savings), a new outfit, a Bible from the France Trust and a small piece of wood with two pennies attached on which some of his mates had inscribed their names. He produced the latter two items during his address.
Following the service I accompanied a group to Beck House (formerly France House) where some thousands have been spent in providing a new school for the boys and a small village of houses for the staff.
In the days of France House the boys regularly attended the Sunday morning service in that beautiful memorial church. In their absence I thought that had these so-called problem boys from Beck House attended that service, they would have been impressed with the address and the calibre of the speaker’s mates.
After viewing the massive expenditure, with its almost one-for-one staff ratio, the segregation of the boys in their own school from the Valley children and their families, the head living away from the institution, these boys will never have the chance of measuring up to the men, some 50-odd, outside the church on that memorable morning.