Thanks for the grub - 60 years on

ALANA DIXON
Last updated 05:00 24/10/2012
Ross Harrison
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
SCHOOL PROJECT: Former Dipton schoolboy Ross Harrison, now of Invercargill, was one of the Southland children who sent relief parcels to war-torn England.

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A former Dipton schoolboy who collected tins of food for war-torn Britain will soon meet an Englishman who received some of the relief parcels sent from Southland after the war.

Roger Button, now living in Florida, told The Southland Times earlier this month he had spent several decades hoping he would one day get to shake the hands of Southlanders who sent the parcels after World War II - so much so that, when he and wife Valerie travel to New Zealand in December, they planned to make a special stop in the region.

Since contacting Kiwi media, he had heard from former Dipton lad Ross Harrison, who had sent tinned goods to Britons after the war.

Yesterday Mr Harrison said he thought it was "terrific" Mr Button had remained so appreciative of the parcels.

He remembered biking around Dipton with a friend when they were about 12, collecting tins of food like tongue to send to Britain.

"We biked around 12 kilometres picking up the tins and putting them in our schoolbags . . . There must have been about 120 kids at [Dipton School] at the time. We made a pile at the end of the corridor, about a metre square."

Back in those days, many New Zealanders still felt a strong allegiance to Britain.

At the cinema audiences sang God Save the Queen and the prime minister was fond of saying "where Britain goes, we go", Mr Harrison said.

He was looking forward to meeting Mr Button, even though the tins sent by Dipton School might not necessarily have ended up in Norwich, Mr Button's home town.

"He's probably football rather than rugby but he might remember the great Kiwi team that went over there [after the war]. They played about 30 games in Britain and only got beaten about three times."

Mr Button said he had been confident that he would find someone who remembered packing those parcels. "It will be the realisation of a dream, the opportunity to personally say thank you."

He had heard from other Kiwis who remembered sending the parcels, but they no longer lived in Southland, he said.

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