Home' The Wellingtonian : December 8th 2011 Contents 2 THE WELLINGTONIAN, DECEMBER 8, 2011
perfume, nightgown, cake stand
shirt, sports book, sunglasses
Phone Aps, dress, make-up
Toys, tshirt, Video game
necklace, novel, JSC gift voucher
Christmas dinner, flowers, crackers
Johnsonville Shopping Centre
Santa in store
Free gift wrapping
Saturday 10 December until Christmas Eve.
Daily until Christmas Eve. From 10.30am to 5pm
(or 10.30am to 4pm December 11th).
Free park i g
Thus 22 Dec to Fri 23 Dec
9am to 9pm
Sat 24 Dec (Christmas Eve) 9am to 6pm
Mon 26 Dec to Tues 27 Dec 10am to 4.30pm
9am to 5.30pm
New Years Day
10am to 4.30pm
Wed 4 Jan
9am to 5.30pm
9am to 5.30pm
Christmas Opening Hours
4th Jan 2012*
*Countdown hours may vary
Happy group: Tawa's Kelly Gang, who recently paid a 90th birthday visit to Vera
Ballance, front, their Plunket nurse. From left, Marion Connell, Mary Walsh, Betty
Watson, Val Aldridge, Shirley Rose, and Carole Greenwood.
By KAROLINE TUCKEY
Plunket nurse Vera Ballance
recently celebrated her 90th birth-
day with a group of mothers she
helped almost 50 years ago.
Miss Ballance was a guiding hand
for thousands of Tawa mothers from
the 1960s to the 1980s.
One mothers support group is still
going strong all these years later.
The Kelly Gang -- named after Dr
Jim Kelly, who delivered all their
children -- called on Miss Ballance at
the Longview Home in Redwood to
help celebrate her birthday.
The support group was formed in
1962 while the mothers, all
expecting their first child, attended
Nine of the original 10 members
have met every six weeks since then.
The group has been a supportive
forum for frank discussion on
parenting, life and marriage.
The women widely credit the Kelly
Gang as one reason why all are still
married. Among them they have 30
children, 48 grandchildren and six
Plunket was a much valued and
well-used service for the families
and, as the sole Tawa Linden
Plunket nurse, Miss Ballance was a
community focal point, an absolute
wonder'', said Kelly Gang member
She was available at all hours to
distressed mothers with her practi-
cal and down-to-earth advice. She
was everywhere and did everything
for everybody,'' said Mrs Aldridge.
Miss Ballance became a general
nurse in England before immigrating
to New Zealand in 1951.
Once here, she undertook special-
ist training, earning the title Sis-
ter'', and took up the new Tawa
Plunket nurse position in 1961.
Miss Ballance estimated she had
worked with thousands of children
and families throughout her career.
She was often greeted by her
mothers'' on visits to the Tawa shop-
ping centre, she said.
Working as a Plunket nurse was
very rewarding and never dull, and
Miss Ballance especially enjoyed
visiting mothers in their own homes.
It was a good service but they
don't visit nearly as much now,
which is a shame,'' she said. That's
when you get to know the mother
and gain her confidence and see
what she lives with.''
Her pithy and earthy sense of
humour and compassion made her a
friend to mothers, who could be open
with her about the concerns and
pressures they felt, as well as
sharing the joys.
Miss Ballance held out the index
finger on her right hand to show how
her finger had bent under years of
weighing children in hand-held
scales and joked how she learnt
quickly to dodge when a baby emp-
tied its bladder.
She retired in 1981 and in 1983
was awarded the Queen's Service
Medal for her work with Plunket, the
Bonus Babies Club and the Maori
Women's Welfare League.
The success of the Kelly Gang was
wonderful, she said.
They've been very supportive of
one another, which is what we need,
and they've helped.''
After 18 years at Ridgway School
associate principal Bev Rutherford
The school community is invit-
ing people to help mark Ms
A celebration will be held on
December 10 at Ridgway School,
in Mornington Rd, between
4.30pm and 6.30pm.
Everybody is welcome and in
the spirit of the community,
people are asked to bring along a
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