A lifetime of achievement

By Kylie Malin


INGLEWOOD identity Peter Cramer knows Inglewood inside out he should, he's been living there since 1936.
Peter was born in Stratford in 1925 and moved to Waitara very soon after his birth.
When he was 10-years-old he contracted rheumatic fever, and during a stay in hospital, his parents moved from their Waitara home to Inglewood.
Peter spent nearly 18 months in hospital and had a stint in Whangarei to recuperate from complications of the fever, but he never fully recovered.
The complications affected Peter's joints, but he has never let that slow him down.
"They told me they couldn't do anything for me at the hospital and that I would never walk again, but as soon as I left, I started attempting things. Soon, I could manage on crutches. I've had the same pair ever since," said Peter.
Peter recalls the start of World War II, and like any young man, he was eager to see what all the fuss was about.
"They sent a notice out to all the young men who were of age to report to New Plymouth for a medical examination. I decided to go along for the ride so I went with my friends on the bus from Inglewood. They took us to a big hall and the guy checking everyone over did a double take when he saw me.
"He asked me to wait and took me down to a cubicle and left me with a doctor who turned out to be the one who used to attend me at hospital. He took one look at me and asked me what the heck I was doing there. I replied that I wanted to have a look around. He handed me a pink slip and told me to take it to the post office, it turned out to be a pay slip so I could collect a days wages. That was my one day of service in the army!" Peter grinned.
After his brief stint in military service, Peter turned back to his first love radio.
He had taught himself the rudimentary functions of radio and ran with his expertise.
"I became known as sort of an expert around town and I started a little business fixing peoples radios.

I studied for my Ham licence during the war years when we weren't allowed on the air and got it soon after the war ended. I used to take lessons with pre-war operator Bill Ward."
Now, the extent of Peter's radio fascination has grown into a mini empire at his Inglewood home.
A huge antenna occupies the backyard and his kitchen and lounge are filled with all manner of radio paraphernalia most of which he has built himself.
"I've always tried to keep up with technology. I think I was the first person in Inglewood to get a computer, I won it in a raffle! I can talk to people all over New Zealand and the world with my transmitting gear when the conditions allow it. It can keep me occupied for hours."
His love of radio and all things electrical led Peter to become an integral part of the Inglewood Dramatic Society and he acted as the sound and lighting man for years.
His contribution to the society was rewarded with a life membership and he still counts the people he met through the society as some of his closest friends.
"I still keep in contact with folks I met through the society. It was a great time and a great way to make friends," he said.
Peter is also actively involved with the Inglewood Lions Club and has been since its inception.
"I was one of the original members of Inglewood Lions and am still a member today. I've never aspired to presidency, I just enjoyed being part of the club and serving the community."
Always a community focused man, Peter's hard work and dedication was further rewarded with a Queens Service Medal in 1977.
"I had to go down to Wellington to receive the medal and it was a great trip. I remember having a chat with Keith Holyoake and I was a little bit cheeky. I said to him, you are much taller than I imagined, and he raised his foot and showed me that he had rises on his boots! We shared a whiskey and a laugh after that."
Over the years, Peter has been an important and well-known part of the Inglewood community and he is grateful to his many friends that have helped him get to where he is today.
"The people here have always been, and remain wonderful. Everyone is willing to lend a helping hand and I have lovely neighbours that look out for me."
Nowadays, Peter fondly looks back on his many achievements, but he is more than content to sit back with the hobby that remains a constant fixture in his life radio.

- Stratford Press

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