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Bess Smith was born on the 26 May 1916 at Woodville, the daughter of Richard and Ruby Myrtle Smith nee Rodgers.  She attended Woodville School and later St Matthew’s School at Masterton, where she was a netball representative.


On the 7 June 1937, she married George Ronaldson McLean and moved to Hawera.  After raising her family, Bess became involved with the South Taranaki Branch of the Crippled Children Society and also St John Ambulance.  She was a voluntary helper at primary schools and was a keen golfer, indoor basketballer and bridge player.  In her later years Bess enjoyed working at Barry’s Nurseries on Fairfield Road as therapy after a bad car accident.


Bess received an award for her work with Crippled Children, and presented the Dominion Hotel, Hawera with the NZ Crippled Children Society Barrier Free sign.  This indicates that a building has easy access facilities for the disabled.


For her work with the St John Ambulance, Bess received a priory vote of thanks on the recommendation of Sir Bernard Ferguson, Prior of St John Ambulance Association.  It was given in recognition of her service as a voluntary worker, not a brigade member.  Bess has been connected with the St John Ambulance for about 15 years, having started as a volunteer driver.  Later, she supervised the driving and organized the recruiting of other drivers to transport patients and blood donors.  Bess was a member of the Hawera sub-committee since 1954 and took an active part in street appeals for many years.  One of her fundraising ventures was a bobby calf appeal, to purchase the present modern ambulance.


Bess was a good needlewoman, and sewed much of the linen for St Mary’s Anglican

Church.  She also assisted with budgeting, and was a clever floral artist.


Bess McLean died on the 7 October 1986 at Hawera and is buried at the Hawera cemetery.



Vicki Miller, Ohaupo (daughter)