I’m sorry to have to let you know that Bill Buxton died on 10 January. There has been a private cremation but a memorial service is planned – see today’s DomPost.
Some of you might not have known Bill but he was a fantastic walker (previously a runner I think), a foundation WMC member, a good friend to many and a man of many talents with a huge general knowledge. He led our group for many years and knew most of what there was to know about Wellington tracks, plants, trees and local history. His encouragement meant a lot to me, I will always be grateful to him.
On behalf of all members, the Clinic would like to extend our condolences to Jill and the Buxton family.
Kind regards, Lynda
A Few Words from Rob Julian
Past and some present members will have read with sadness the passing of Life Member Bill Buxton on January 10.
I am not sure if Bill was a Foundation Member, but I first met him in the second year of the Clinic when we met in the gym at Rongatai College. We ran in Peter Shackleton’s (also gone)sd 6min/k group, some 40 of us and I can recall the incredible euphoria Bill and I felt when after a couple of months of training, we ran back for the last 3k ahead of the pack (naughty) at what was then, for us, an unbelievable pace breathing steadily and chatting animatedly.
The group morphed into Roger Hooper’s 5 ½ min/k group, with such as Bruce and Janet Campbell, Lorraine Freeman, Brian Read (also gone) Sue Evens, Sean O’Neill, Molly Hunua and some 20 others and we all finished marathons around 3 hr 40. Those were the glory days.
With the remorseless march of time Bill took out the middle pack of walkers which proved so popular that he had to cope with some 30+ members and the pack stretched out for a good kilometre as the faster ones went ahead. Bill tried to persuade the members to split into two groups but they were having none
My most enduring memory of Bill is when a team of us handed out ice cooled drinks of water and Clinic business cards to runners around Oriental bay on hot January lunchtimes to promote the opening day of the Clinic. Betty Meyers, also a life member and who passed away last year, would stand in front of oncoming runners who either had to slow down and accept a drink and a card, or else run down an 85+ year old woman. Bill had a different technique. Whenever a couple of young attractive women walkers came along he would join them and spend a good 50 metres eulogising on the benefits of coming along to the Clinic and joining his group on the opening Sunday. Insofar as I cannot recall any attractive young women joining his group, it would seem his efforts were in vain.
Bill organised several Clinic social events, the most memorable one was when his car got stolen. Fortunately, the police located his car three weeks later, exactly where he had left it- covered in bird droppings and with a multitude of parking tickets.
Unfortunately, this was the first indication to us of Bill’s decreasing mental abilities and meeting him and his wife Jenny in later years, in the Johnsonville Mall for coffee was a saddening experience.
So, Bill has finished his ultimate marathon and can rest easy. Some of us will hope we can meet him when we cross the finishing line of our own ultimate marathon, but I prefer to remember him as he was. Enthusiastic, vital, ,band cheerful, in the glory days of the Clinic.
Wellington Marathon Clinic
From David McCrone…
There is a portrait of and a write-up about Bill at Jill’s Brother (Portrait of Bill Buxton) | The New Zealand Portrait Gallery