The Hutt News
16th January 1996

An most 50-year association with Stokes Valley will come to an end for the Glover family at the end of January, when Phil Glover leaves the valley to take up a new position in Hamilton.

Phil's parents, Larry and Shirley Glover, settled in Stokes Valley in 1947, and built their family home at 263 Main Road. They lived there until their deaths in 1987 and 1988 respectively. Shirley Glover was a well known identity, having worked for many years in the Stokes Valley supermarkets. In the early years, when the children were young, she helped start the only playcentre in the valley.

The Glovers have always been identified with the Fire Service, in way or another. All three male members of the family were members of the Stokes Valley Volunteer Fire Brigade. Between them, they have chalked up almost 44 years service. Larry served for 10 years from 1954, Allan (Phil's older brother) served for 3 years before becoming a full time fireman in Wellington for a further two years before his untimely death in 1971, aged 23. Phil carried on the family tradition and joined the Stokes Valley Brigade in 1968 as a 17 year old. He became a full-time fireman in 1972 at Lower Hutt and has served at Upper Hutt, Petone, Porirua, Nelson and Wellington.

Gold Star

Phil has just over 28 years service and has been awarded a 25-year Gold Star medal. Currently the Officer in Charge of Blue Watch, Phil is based at the Kilbirnie fire station in Wellington. He leaves that position (and Stokes Valley) to take up his new position as Operational Planning Officer for the Waikato area. Although he will be based in Hamilton, his area of responsibility extends from the top of the Coromandel Peninsular across to Pukekohe in the north, and down to almost New Plymouth in the south, and from coast to coast in between.

"Having lived in Stokes Valley for 41 years, it will be a big wrench when we finally move out. There are so many reminders of my life in this valley. Dad built our family home where we grew up, and I have built two houses in the valley, one for my mother-in-law in Milton Street, and our own home near the top of Stokes Valley Road where we have lived for the past 11 years," says Phil.

Phil's younger sister, Sharon, moved out of the valley about 12 years ago and now lives in Gisborne.

In Phil's relatively short lifetime, he can remember the milkman and the postman delivering by horseback, the main road being mostly gravel, with the macrocarpa trees outside the family home on either side of the main road meeting in the middle. The Four Square store was the main shop in the valley, and stood where Scott Court now stands.

"There were no State Houses and we used to play with our friends on the grassy hills on the western side of what is now Delaney Park.

Racing

"I can remember my father racing up the road to the fire station when the siren sounded, then driving the old 1919 Dennis fire engine to the fire. Such was the speed of that vehicle that my brother and I used to catch up with dad on our bikes and ask him where the fire was and beat him there, until he told us not to, as it was a bit embarrassing to have his kids pass him on push bikes while he was trying to look serious and fireman-like!"

In October 1991, the primary school in Kairimu Street was severely damaged by an arsonist. Phil was attached to the Fire Safety Department in Wellington at the time, and was called to the fire to carry out the investigation to establish the cause of the fire. "That was very personal to me, as the fire destroyed the classroom that I was in when I first started school."

Phil and his family leave the home that he built, which sits on nearly an acre of native bush in what Phil describes as "the best part of the valley."

"We know we will be lucky to find a place in Hamilton that matches what we have in Stokes Valley, and I will always consider Stokes Valley home.