School's 'baker' ready for action

23:30, Jun 13 2012
Ruth Ross
Reliable recipe: Ruth Ross, 78, of Blenheim, and her brother John Diaper, 79, of Nelson. Mrs Ross is repeating her culinary efforts of 25 years ago.

Redwoodtown School is celebrating its centenary in September and Ruth Ross has volunteered to bake the cake, 25 years after she made the cake for the school's 75th Jubilee.

The last cake was a 30 centimetre fruit cake and took about a week to make and decorate. It included edible figurines that represented the history of the school, including a model of the original school, a cardboard name tag and – for the oddspot – a cork that pupils would put in their mouths in the case of an explosion during World War II.

The figurines were put into a time capsule that will be dug up this September for the school's centenary.

Mrs Ross has again volunteered to make the fruit cake, as well as two smaller versions "so everyone can have a piece".

Mrs Ross, 78, and her brother, John Diaper, 79, both attended Redwoodtown School as "primmers" (first and second year pupils), in 1937 and 1939, then went on to Blenheim School followed by Marlborough High School.

There were no school photographs during that time, probably due to the lack of film, Mrs Ross said.


The school has taught generations of the Diaper family, with another sister attending the school for her first and second year as well as two younger sisters who attended for all their primary school years.

Four of Mrs Ross' children also went to the school, as well as her granddaughter.

Both Mrs Ross and her brother went to teachers college in Wellington, and Mr Diaper taught at Redwoodtown in 1956, and again for about six years in the 1960s.

He then taught in Napier for about 25 years, and has retired to Nelson.

He's looking forward to seeing his old students and fellow teachers at the centenary.

Mrs Ross, who still keeps in touch with some of her old classmates, is also keen to catch up with everyone in person.

"School reunions are always great fun. You see these people and think `God, they look old,' not realising yourself that you look old too."

The Redwoodtown School Centenary is from September 14 to 16. Past pupils can visit the classrooms, enjoy a celebration dinner on the Saturday night, and watch the retrieval of the time capsule that was buried 25 years ago.

Register by phoning the school on 035785200, email

The Marlborough Express