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Vera Beech was born on the 9 August 1911 at Nurse Harvey’s, Hawera.  She was the daughter of Edward and Edith Ann Beech nee Jones, a Welsh couple, who spoke the language fluently.


The family farmed at Alton, and after World War One, moved to Ruthin, North Wales, where they lived for 11 months.  Upon their return they lived at Matapu.


As an eight year old, Vera caught the train from Te Roti to Hawera for music lessons from Daisy Reilly.  As the conductor handed her ticket back it would read vera, half of Hawera, and this greatly amused her, thinking they knew her name.


Later she learnt music from Miss Olive Bocock at Matapu, and then as a boarder at Stratford High School, learnt from Miss Phyliss Weston.  After she left school, her music lessons were with Mrs Blennerhasset of Eltham.  Here, Vera passed her LTCL, ATCL, FTCL and LRSM (Licentiate Royal School of Music) exams, and began teaching music in Hawera.


On the 23 June 1942, Vera married John Hey at Hawera.  The couple then went to live at Riverlea, where Vera continued to teach music.  She was the official accompanist to the Kaponga schools choral festival, and also for Myra Wren’s choir at Manaia.


In 1962, Vera took a trip to England with her sister Phyllis, and her husband and son.  John and Vera retired to New Plymouth, and Vera died there on the 12 April 1989.



Phyllis Beech, Hawera (sister)