Old hands shelter children

Last updated 11:38 30/07/2008
BEN WATSON/North Shore Times
AT IT AGAIN: George Shierny, front, Ray Marshall, and Harry Corrim have come to the rescue of students who were getting caught in the rain while waiting for the bus.

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Three old cobbers have been up to their old tricks, building a bus shelter for schoolchildren and "young ladies" at Westlake Girls High School.

At 87, George Shierny has again picked up his hammer and nails to build a shelter near Westlake Girls after seeing students huddling in recent hailstorms "like animals".

"It makes me mad. I live around the corner from Westlake Girls. I think of them as my neighbours."

North Shore City Council passenger transport manager Bill Drager says the council is creating more school bus shelters.

He says a specially designed one will be needed for the stop near Westlake girls and boys high schools because the footpath is narrow.

The council budgets for about 30 shelters a year but there are a number of school bus stops currently without shelters, he says.

Mr Shierny, Ray Marshall and their old mate Wally "Snow" White are known for fixing and building seats for shelters to shame authorities into building permanent ones.

The men have dedicated their latest shelter to the memory of Mr White.

In the 1980s a campaign by Mr Shierny and his late wife Agnes prompted the building of bus shelters around the North Shore and Auckland.

With his Kiwi do-it-yourself spirit still strong, Mr Shierny and "old cobbers" Ray Marshall, 81, and Harry Corrim, 87, decided to once again take matters into their own hands.

"It has upset me to see all the children standing there. What bloody moved me was here you had two young ladies from Westlake Girls crouched on the ground with an umbrella in the hail," Mr Shierny says.

"We live in New Zealand, you don’t treat people like that."

He is also worried pupils are tempted to run through traffic to a bus shelter on the other side of the road.

Mr Shierny says the lack of bus shelters for students is a problem all over the Shore.

Having recently suffered concussion after a fall, Mr Shierny intially wasn’t up to any physical labour but felt he had to do something.

What’s made it harder is he recently moved to a one-bedroom flat where there is no room for a workshop or keeping spare timber, so he has had to buy all new materials to create the shelter.

"I hope the council will follow up. I’ve showed them how it can be done and if they like they can use my design," Mr Shierny laughs.

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- North Shore Times

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