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Horowhenua Chronicle - 2021-11-26

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The last mayors of Foxton Borough

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Tony Hunt

Last month I reached as far as John Chrystall and mentioned the next few mayors also served long terms. In fact Chrystall’s successor, Mark Perreau, set the record with 19 years of wearing the mayoral chain, 1925-44. Mark was a businessman who ran a bakery and then later became a land agent. One great contribution he gave to the town was donating part of his land in Duncan St to the newly formed Woolpack and Textiles company. Following Mark was Harry Podmore, an employee of Woolpack and Textiles. He was very down to earth and I remember as a teenager helping him sort bottlles from a town collection raising money for the Memorial Hall. He served 12 years until 1956. Next mayor, 1956-62, was Ted Field who had a honey business in Norbiton Rd — it was “sweet!”. His two term tenure was follwed by that of George King. He was yard foreman at the Speirs timber yard which is now covered by the Masonic Village. George was active in the community especially at the Cycling and Athletic Club. I can remember him as a starter — there was no mucking around when he was in charge! He was also a very successful road racing cyclist himself. The next two three-year terms were served by Stuart Donnelly who ran the town’s chemist shop. I best remember him as being our neighbour across the road in Gladstone St. His wife Margaret was a keen member of the Garden Circle. The next mayor for three years I knew very well — Neal Hunt. Without any fear of a bias I can claim he was fully involved with the community — rugby, tennis, golf, Little Theatre, scouts. The next five years the mayor was Jim Titcombe, a senior staff member at the local post office whose family name is best remembered for running the butcher shop on what is now the site of Leader and Watt. Kevin Farrell then held the position for two years. Apart from this service he was very active in St Johns. I of course knew him best as a colleague at Manawatu¯ College. Our final mayor was Bob Fraser whose term was very brief as the borough became “extinct” in 1987. Bob was an accountant and a descendant of Alf Fraser, mayor in 1899. Now we have the community board and the chances of adding another mayor of Foxton to the list are zero.

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