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Geoff Ockleston is a well-known man around the Bays. He has lived in the area for 40 years and has a huge involvement in the community. Two key roles he plays at the moment is as Vice President of East Coast Bays RSA and as a member of the board of the Browns Bay Business Association. He is known as a great supporter of local business. Geoff spent six years as the President of the RSA and this is his second stint as the Vice President, a role that just got a bit bigger recently with the resignation of the current President. Geoff is helping to hold the fort until a new President can be appointed. Browns Bay Mag’s Aidan Bennett caught up with him for a chat in early February 2016.
AIDAN BENNETT: How long have you lived in the Bays?
GEOFF OCKLESTON: I have lived on the Shore since I was 16. I worked in the Navy, living in the Devonport area originally before moving to the Bays around 40 years ago.
AB: When did you join the RSA?
GO: When I was in the Navy my club was the Senior Rating (Chiefs) Mess. But when I left the Navy I joined the RSA and have loved every minute of it. That was over 30 years ago now.
AB: You have played a big part in running the East Coast Bays RSA, it’s a big organisation. When did you first go on the committee?
GO: I joined the committee after I had been a member for around 10 years. I was the Vice President for two years, then the President for six years and am now one of two Vice Presidents, a role I have held for another two years.
AB: What is special about East Coast Bays RSA?
GO: It’s part of a nationwide organisation that’s celebrating 100 years this year. It’s one of the bigger clubs in the country but it is neat that it is no longer an exclusive club for ex-servicemen, the general Bays people have embraced it as well which is great for its future. Around a third are ex-servicemen with the balance being social members who enjoy the place.
It’s now a social club and a responsible member of the Browns Bay and Bays community.
AB: Why did you and your wife Pauline choose to live in the Browns Bay and Bays area?
GO: I had lived here as a youngster and just liked the area. We bought a house here and have moved four times, but never outside the Browns Bay area. When we came here it was right on the edge of the city back then, now it is the city! We have brought up four kids here, now all grown up. Two remain in the area, while two are in the South Island.
AB: What do you love about the area?
GO: Most of all it’s the beaches. We are so close to several beaches. Browns Bay village is a great place to go with good shopping, great restaurants and cafes and a lovely waterfront. I love the cafes by the beach.
AB: What’s your favourite spot in the Bays?
GO: Waiake Beach. I swim there every day before the crowds come along!
AB: What are the goals for the East Coast Bays RSA in 2016?
GO: Our goal is to involve the Browns Bay and Bays community to a greater extent and to preserve the identity of the RSA in its centenary year.
It will also be great to have full use of the club once again after the fire which has caused disruption. It will be great to get back some of those members who have drifted away due to the problems with the facilities.
This really is a great club to belong to. We have lots of fun and have great facilities such as the restaurant, bars, gaming, pool and snooker as well as big screens for watching sport in our lounges.
Channel Magazine: Issuu 62 February 2016