It’s time to stir the embers of memory, for everyone associated with a much-respected facility for people with disabilities on Auckland’s North Shore.
In the lead up to next year’s 75th anniversary, The Wilson Home Trust has uploaded a webpage onto the Internet, urging former residents, nurses, gardeners, supporters, fundraisers and others to register online and be kept in touch with plans for the celebrations. The webpage can be viewed at: www.jubilee.wilsonhometrust.org.nz
“In addition to marking their diaries for the weekend of 21st-23rd April 2012, we’d greatly appreciate those who’ve been in any way involved with the Trust, making contact and providing us with their ideas for the celebrations,” says The Wilson Home Trust’s Director, Russell Ness.
“We’d also love to hear from them concerning their memories and we’d be delighted to know about any photographs or other items they might have, as these could form part of an anniversary exhibition.
“Although the final shape and size of the occasion is still being determined, tours of our upgraded facilities and highly scenic gardens will clearly be part of the programme, as will a barbeque function and ‘mix and mingle’ events, with plenty of opportunities to talk about days gone by,” he adds.
The Wilson Home Trust was established in 1937, when Mr and Mrs W. R. Wilson gifted their family home, and 13 acres of magnificent coastal gardens at Belmont near Takapuna, for the expressed benefit of children with disabilities.
For many years, the Trust’s chief focus was on providing residential care, at the Wilson Home itself, whilst the children received treatment and schooling.
Those who benefited from their time at the home included the legendary racing car driver and designer, the late Bruce McLaren, as well as Mick Brown, who became New Zealand’s first Principal Youth Court Judge. It is anticipated that Judge Brown will be amongst those playing a role in the anniversary celebrations, as will members of the McLaren family and descendents of Mr and Mrs Wilson.
By the 1990s, changing attitudes increasingly favoured children with disabilities living in their own homes, attending local schools and participating as fully as possible in the community.
Reflecting this trend, The Wilson Home Trust became active in facilitating a wide range of educational, social and health services across the Auckland region and beyond.
Last year, the Trust moved its administration into a lovingly-restored nineteenth century cottage, on the Belmont site. The cottage also provides a venue for community activities and a welcoming environment for both people with disabilities and their family members.