Rugby league mainstays open new clubrooms

Jeff Whittaker, Merv Whittaker, Peter Lewis and current club president Devon Harding at the...
Jeff Whittaker, Merv Whittaker, Peter Lewis and current club president Devon Harding at the opening of the new Halswell clubrooms. Photo: Supplied
Merv Whittaker helped fundraise to build Halswell rugby league’s now earthquake-doomed clubrooms back in the 1970s - so appropriately he was given the honour of opening its successor.

Peter Lewis and Merv Whittaker. Photo: Supplied
Peter Lewis and Merv Whittaker. Photo: Supplied
The 84-year-old and fellow club life member Peter Lewis, an original player when the club formed in 1960, were centre stage when the new community facility was opened to coincide with legends day at Halswell Domain.

Whittaker cut the ribbon with Lewis - the club’s longest serving life member - in support.

Although Whittaker never played for the club, he was a long-term coach of junior grades and a committee member when the previous clubrooms were opened in 1978.

"Dad was one of the mainstays behind building the clubrooms that will be knocked down. They came up with ‘buy a brick, buy a chair or buy a table’. That’s how the club was formed really,” said Whittaker’s son, fellow Hornets stalwart Jeff.

"It was a proud moment to cut the ribbon.

"It was great to see so many old players, old coaches, managers and trainers. It was a very special day for the club."

The $2 million project - financed by an insurance payout, plus support from the Lottery Grants Board, Air Rescue & Community Services and Kiwi Gaming Foundation - was more than a decade in the making.

And although rugby league is the focal point, other codes are expected to utilise the facility.


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