East End members reeling in the years

Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013

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Taranaki's oldest surf lifesaving club celebrates its 100th birthday soon.

The East End Surf Lifesaving Club was officially formed in 1913, and since then has patrolled at three beaches, had three homes, and trained thousands of young people in water skills and life-saving techniques.

This will all be remembered at centennial celebrations over Easter Weekend in the last weekend of March, which will be attended by current and former club members from throughout New Zealand and overseas.

A centennial book has also been written detailing the club's rich history, says East End life member John Honnor, of New Plymouth.

"The history of East End is essentially also the history of the development of New Plymouth's beaches for recreational use," he said.

"When the club was first formed it was based at East End Reserve on the city side of the mouth of Te Henui River, which at the beginning of last century was the place to be - it had a beautiful sandy beach with a palladium and band rotunda, and everyone used to go there at weekends.

"Then when erosion affected that beach the club moved across the river and began patrolling at Strandon."

In the 1970s and 1980s erosion affected that beach too, and some members suggested that maybe East End should relocate to Paritutu.

"But it never happened - although for a time the club did patrol that beach as well," said Mr Honnor.

Former members who wish to join celebrations can phone Pete Walker, 0270 550 5620, or register online.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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