The editorial that never got written

Last updated 08:56 15/06/2012

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An editorial was about to be written this week suggesting that Mayor Alistair Sowman get moving and organise a function for Ron Perano and his rowers for representing Marlborough in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the River Thames this month.

A flurry of emails zipped about town the day before Ron and the boys were due to arrive home last week, demanding an official welcome home and some sort of proper function.

I agreed but didn't push the point. We covered the homecoming and interviewed Ron about fulfilling his dream to take his replica whaling skiff to London for the pageant.

I thought the mayor's comment about not wanting to make a special case of the rowers because there were so many others doing good things was a cop-out. But there was a mixed response when I talked to people about it. Many of them agreed with him.

An online poll showed 70 per cent of readers agreed, so I listened and let the idea drop.

There are still things to say, though. A father of one of the Marlborough Boys' College rowers who went to London commented online about the need to recognise four boys – Corey McCaffrey, Tom Murray, Ryan Wilson and Brook Robertson – who gave up the chance to go so they could try out for the New Zealand rowing squad to compete at the world under-19 championships in Bulgaria. Tom and Corey made it through while Ryan and Brook were unlucky to miss out.

I also needed to clarify a couple of things with Marlborough Museum chief executive Steve Austin, and got a long response that finished: "The project needs to be seen in its entirety, as a joint Marlborough community effort."

Many people had helped the project, he said.

"From our perspective the project was not at all about Ron Perano. The point is this was an historic occasion and we managed to get Marlborough represented there."

There were many individual donors who contributed thousands in one way or another.

"It was a real celebration of Marlborough history in terms of whaling, rowing heritage and our colonial past and current Commonwealth relationship. But most of all our community spirit."

No-one did it for personal glory, but to get a team to London.

Ron worked hard to make his dream come true, and he convinced enough others that it was a good enough idea for them to help raise $100,000 to get there, including $10,000 from the Canterbury Community Trust.

They will get their recognition at a Rotary meeting and at a function being hosted by the historic society next weekend. It looks like this is a good compromise that will keep most people happy and still give Ron and the boys a chance to talk.

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Although I still think the council should celebrate more rather than shying away from it in case they offend someone.

- The Marlborough Express

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