Eileen and Kevin (Digger) Windle’s daughter Mary-Ann was a first day pupil at St Peter’s College. The family had been thrilled to learn that the school was to be co-ed and although it opened too late for their first three sons to attend, Mary-Ann and her younger brother Peter became pupils.
The Rosminian priests with their European ideas on education were introducing new ideas to Gore. Each of the priests had a ‘mum’ in the town, (Eileen was one) and they helped to look after them on the domestic front.
Eileen belonged to the Catholic Women’s League and was a PTFA member in the early days and recalls when the chapel was being built, the architect was proposing that it had a cream carpet. A practical mum of five, she thought this was a bad idea and she accompanied Father Hill to Invercargill where they chose the more user friendly green one which is still doing duty today.
Brother Ted and his various schemes are still vivid in Eileen’s memory. He was always sure that ‘money would turn up’ to pay for them. After taking a school trip to the North Island and staying in various church halls, he wanted to send a cheque off to reimburse the parishes, but there were no funds available. The group had travelled by train and booked their meals in advance. However, they hadn’t received the food that they ordered and Brother Ted wrote to the railways and complained. In due course a cheque arrived in recompense and so funds became available to send on to the parishes.
On another occasion a meeting was held to discuss an alcohol policy for the school and Eileen was helping to serve the supper, but all the plates were missing. All she could find were some metal trays advertising alcoholic drinks which she had to use for the sandwiches. Brother Ted was highly amused at the irony of that situation.
Eileen’s daughter Mary-Ann works in real estate and son Peter qualified through Massey University and went into finance and has worked all over the world. Eileen’s involvement with the school continued for many years and six of her grandchildren have been pupils here.