New headstone honours couple's service to town

Last updated 12:00 14/11/2012

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A Dannevirke couple were honoured this week for their service and generosity to the town they loved, more than 80 years after their deaths.

A new headstone has been erected in Mangatera Cemetery commemorating the late Thomas and Sophia Bates and their giving natures.

More than 20 people, including residents, representatives from MidCentral Health and former Dannevirke Hospital workers, gathered for the unveiling.

Previously, only Mr Bates's grave was identified, but now the new headstone in the Dannevirke cemetery honours both Mr and Mrs Bates.

Dannevirke's gallery of history chairwoman, Patricia Mills, said it was important for people to remember town roots and the people who made a difference.

"Many things that shape the way we are, and the way the town is, get lost. This is part of our history, and it needs to be recorded, these people were philanthropists, and it needs to be noted for Dannevirke."

The Bates left an estate worth more than $200,000 and gave hundreds of grants to Tararua health-related children's activities.

It has gradually been whittled down over the years until the final disbursement was dished out last year.

Some recipients in the past few years included Huia Range School, Woodville School, Tararua District Child Development Service in Dannevirke, Tararua Child and Adolescent dental therapists, and Dannevirke South School dental clinic.

Mr Bates, a cabinetmaker, died in 1926, aged 84, and Mrs Bates died in 1929, aged 77.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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