100th birthday for seasoned dog-trial man

Gore’s Resthaven Village resident Les Roughan, who has competed in dog trials most of his life,...
Gore’s Resthaven Village resident Les Roughan, who has competed in dog trials most of his life, celebrates his 100th birthday today. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON
He once won a cup for being the youngest competitor in a dog trial event but now if he was competing he would get one for being the oldest, Les Roughan says.

The Gore Resthaven Village resident celebrates his 100th birthday today.

Mr Roughan said he received his first pup from his father when he was about 5.

He started competing in dog trials when he was 16, which was when he won the cup for being the youngest competitor.

For a while it was the social aspect of the sport he enjoyed.

However, he realised he could do better if he applied himself.

Once he did that, he started winning more events.

He went on to compete in many national events and stopped trialling in 2019.

He was not sure why he had lived so long, especially after the health challenges he had faced.

In the early 1990s, he was diagnosed with bowel cancer and was operated on by surgeon-superintendent Kam Tung Au at Gore’s Seddon Memorial Hospital.

Dr Au told him to go home and forget about the cancer and "you’ll beat it".

"He’s proved right as far as I’m concerned."

His attitude might have been one reason he had lived so long.

"I always looked the world straight in the eye.

"Hold your head up and walk tall."

He also kept positive and "always made the best of a bad bargain".

Mr Roughan was the second-youngest of eight children and grew up at Lawrence.

After he was born, a friend of his mother, Margaret Leslie, the publican’s daughter, visited the maternity home.

His mother asked her what she should she call her fifth son and the woman replied "Leslie Lawrence".

In the year his mother died aged 48, he left school and drove a team of horses on his father’s 445ha hill farm.

When his father died four years later, he carried on working on the farm for his brother Dan.

He also started shearing.

In 1951, he married Joan Irvine, of Beaumont.

They had seven children together.

Later the couple bought a 100ha farm at Te Tipua, and after the farm had been knocked into shape it was sold.

The couple bought a 485ha farm at Mandeville in 1979.

When he retired, he carried on living on the farm, which is now farmed by his son Barry.

He moved into Resthaven three years ago.

During the years, he had been involved on many organisations including the Gore A&P Association and Gore Sheep Dog Trial Club.

"I’ve got six life memberships."

People had always been important to him.

He was very proud of his family.

He was a "staunch Catholic" but had not always attended church.

He enjoyed good health apart from creaky joints in his legs, still drove and cooked his own meals.

Mr Roughan will celebrate his birthday at the Gore and Districts Memorial RSA on Saturday with friends and family.