Star Cricket Club life member Noel Veitch with the youngest club member Oscar Elliotte, 8, also his grandson, in 2020.
Noel Veitch has been remembered for his longtime membership with Timaru’s Star Cricket Club and his popularity as a primary school teacher and deputy principal over 43 years.
Veitch, known as Veitchie to his cricket mates, died unexpectedly on June 24 aged 73, having just watched New Zealand’s victory against India in the cricekt World Test Championship.
Star Cricket Club junior cricket coach Julian Blanchard said Veitch started at the club in 1960.
He was captain of the team that won the third grade competition in 1963-1964 and Tweedy Cup winning teams in the 1970s. His roles in the club included, player, captain, administrator and life member.
“In his later years Noel took enormous pride in watching his grandkids take up cricket,” Blanchard said.
Star Cricket Club president Phil McGregor said Veitch was the ultimate club member.
“[He was] loyal, committed, and competitive – a great innings, rest in peace.”
Timaru South School teacher Donna White said she worked with Veitch for 15 years, at the school he also attended as a child.
“My best memories of Noel were school camps and Top Schools. Noel was in his element at these events,” White said.
She said the camps were full of laughter, and he allowed ‘’the kids to be kids’’.
“[They were] swimming in the rivers, eeling, smashing through bush and scrub to get to the cross at the top of the hill at Lindisfarne Camp and then on the other side making an open fire and cooking sausages with a stick.
“The children’s personalities would shine through and so would Noel’s, a bushman at heart I’m sure.”
White said Noel had his own way of doing things but “always had the best interests of the children at heart”.
His children Vickie Elliotte and Deborah Absolom said their dad was a devoted father until the grandchildren came along, and then they became the apple of his eye.
“He had a way of making kids feel like they were the most important thing on the planet,” Elliotte said.
The sisters recalled their Christmas holidays at Glendhu Bay, in Wanaka, as a mix of skiing, boating, fishing and playing sports.
He tried to teach the girls cricket but instead, coached their netball team at Craighead Diocesan School for three years.
A family story is that Veitch met his wife Lynne when he accidentally dropped a sweatshirt outside her house when riding past.
Reuniting the clothing to its owner was how the then 13 and 14-year-olds first met. They went on to marry, separating 30 years later.
Elliotte said one of her father’s achievements was cycling through Europe with some friends a year after he retired and then again about five years ago through Australia.
“He loved travelling and often talked about it,” she said.
Both daughters ended up being teachers, Elliotte teaches at Beaconsfield and Absolom has stopped teaching to help with her husband’s business.
Building relationships with the children was what Veitch impressed upon his daughters when they were in the classroom.
The sisters say the saddest part of losing their father is that he won’t have more time to spend with the five grandchildren he adored.
A funeral service for Veitch will be held at Sopheze On The Bay, Caroline Bay, Timaru, on July 1 at 1.30pm, followed by private cremation.