Allen grew up in England on the family farm tended through the generations from his Grandfather to his Father, the only surviving son. His Mum on the other hand, was 1 of 12 surviving children, hence a childhood filled with a huge extended family.
Born just after the war this ‘Autumn Leaf’ completed this family of six. The impact of the war lingered for years in what Allen remembers as an idyllic, if somewhat isolated childhood, the sheer luxury of listening to Radio Luxembourg is recalled as a very happy memory along with Derby their horse, general dogsbody and mainstay of farming life until the eventual arrival of a tractor.


A lovely quote that sums up Allen’s childhood is “Somehow Mum made our farm the place to visit - her legendary cooking I suspect,” with plentiful food, card games and many social occasions. Farming was never going to be his thing, Engineering sparked Allen’s interest. First interview lead to his first job as an apprentice for a power generating station that then paved the way to fund his degree leading to a 40 year career. University was of course, where he meet Liz.

Liz was born in Bristol as the delightful prelude to a surprise twin sister who arrived 20 minutes later. In post war Britain times were tough for the family that were dogged by tragedy. I noted here a strength and determination to deal with the current reality, making the most of opportunities. This family trait, I believe, has carried Liz through many trials and tribulations over the years. Liz grew up central to all that was needed in family life. The twins “weren’t bad kids but being two of us we were always up to mischief and often in trouble. Jeanie was the instigator but I was the leader once a plan was hatched. When caught out, Jeanie was very good at playing the innocent and I was the one held responsible as, after all, I was 20 minutes older.” A defining moment came with the unexpected separation of the twins for Senior School. After taking a year to settle, Liz finally started to make new friends, becoming an individual in her own right and discovering her own things especially sports, theatre and concert events. An early morning paper round funded this newly discovered life and would you believe, seeing The Beatles..TWICE. Obviously a water baby or possibly a secret mermaid, scuba diving became a passion (made her own wetsuit). Bath University and Physio School beckoned, close to home and diving activities and as mentioned earlier, another defining moment, the phone call from Allen.

Married in the summer of 1971, work commitments with CEGB took them to many little villages over the years. Two sons and a daughter arrived, Oliver, Robin and Merryn. The first house ignited another passion, renovating. This was a pattern repeated many times over the years. Itchy feet career wise for Allen has meant time spent in some lovely places and the ability to be prepared to look further afield. Zambia didn’t work out but Johannesburg did. A shaky start led to some wonderful extended family visits and memories travelling through this amazing Continent. A visit to Liz’s sister in 1982 started a love affair with Dunedin that has now come to fruition in retirement. A business idea in South Africa became a reality in England and a livelihood in Australia. This however meant a year apart from Liz and a young family until the big shift to Adelaide came. Consultancy work meant travel, a shift to Newcastle bought the family closer along with Australian Citizenship...did the Club know this?? Liz discovered her niche first as a volunteer for World Vision then employed by the Company each in turn happy with the result. Allen volunteered as well, together devoting many hours to this wonderful cause. While there were further career hiccups and wins the children completed their schooling in Newcastle, the boys doing double degrees and Merryn taking the ‘scenic’ route to a Radiography degree. Next move Brisbane, another fun renovation job and a positive career move with World Vision there for Liz, a job she loved. With another redundancy looming, Dunedin looked like the perfect escape. While visiting her sister Liz found ‘the house’ in Ravensbourne. By this time the children had settled with their respective partners in their chosen locations, California, Tokyo and Newcastle, retirement and another reno in Dunedin beckoned. A career opportunity for Allen was too good to pass up and suited his lifestyle. Grandchildren arrived (4) and holidays are now big on the agenda. I will finish the Stacey’s story with their final quote. “ We may have had our ups and downs and as a family dodged a bullet or two, but we have been well blessed and we are very grateful.”

Rajesh only reiterated what we were all thinking “ what a super couple.” To show such courage through such adversity. Thank you for sharing your story with us.