(né Becroft) 1919 – 2016
Doris Alice Becroft, third child of Henry Bertram Becroft and Mary Mabel Dormer was born in Helensville on 13 June 1919 and was a proud citizen of the town until ill health caused her move to a rest home in Orewa in 2009. Even then Doris still considered Helensville her home.
Doris was of pioneer Kaipara families. Her father’s family came to New Zealand, on the Matilda Wattenbach with the Albertland settlement in 1863. Her mother’s family, the Dormers, farmed at Kaukapakapa.
Doris’s only sister, Gladys died of polio in 1916, before Doris was born. Her brother Ken was four years her senior, and throughout her life she looked up to him and was proud of his achievements.
During World War 2 he had a distinguished career in RNZAF in England and was awarded the double honour of DFC and BAR. On his return to NZ Ken and his wife Rose lived in Wellington. Ken died in 1968 and Rose in 1987.
Henry Bertram (Bert) Becroft (born 1885) was a builder, like his father (Alfred Becroft and Sons) but was also the Helensville undertaker and a keen photographer. His collection of glass plate negatives covering local events, places and people, was presented by Doris to the Society and is an invaluable historical resource.
Doris attended Helensville Primary and High School then went on to Auckland Business College. She did not complete this course as she was offered a job in Helenville with the solicitor Dick Snedden (partner of A G Lowe). After World War 2 John Pyatt joined as a partner. Doris continued with this firm for 44 years. She was a quiet and quite shy person, but an efficient and dedicated worker. Although quite a diffident personality she enjoyed company and social occasions and was a gracious hostess.
When her parents married in 1912, they built a house in Porter Crescent. Doris lived with her parents and cared for them as well as holding a full time position in the lawyers’ office. Her mother died in 1958, and her father lived on until 1970.
Although working full-time and caring for her parents, Doris had a range of community and social interests. During World War 2 she did nursing training. She was a member of the Women’s Section of the RSA; was Treasurer of the Indoor Bowling Club land a dedicated member of the Country Women’s Institute, both locally and in the Auckland West Federation and the National organisation, attending conferences in New Zealand and overseas. She had joined the CWI on 6 April 1954, and remained a member until her death. Doris was a dedicated member of the Tutuanekai Rebekah (Women’s branch of Odd fellows) Lodge. She held a
variety of offices and travelled her District and National meetings.
Her other particular interest was the Helensville & District Historical Society. Doris was a foundation member, (1967) and her father, Bert was the first Patron. Doris played a very concerned and active role in the Society. She was minute secretary for nearly 20 years.. She kept efficient and careful minutes, organised twice yearly bus trips for members, and kept a record of all the accessions and exhibits. She was responsible for the setting up of many of the procedures and recording used in the running of the Museum and the society, which are continued today. In recognition of her service, Doris was made a Patron of the Society.
She loved travel and went to local and overseas conferences of the Women’s Institute, including America, Holland, Ireland and Rarotonga. Locally she enjoyed bus trips with Graham Lupton’s tours, and Historical Society, local, Regional and National trips and conferences. She was a keen photographer and kept records of these many trips.
Doris’s friendship with Harold Jenkins dates back over many years through his wife’s family – the Carters. After Harold was widowed he escorted Doris on a number of occasions on Historical Society trips, and also to concerts and recitals, as Harold was a keen musician. Probably the happiest years of Doris’s life were the ten years she was married to Harold – 1998 (at the age of 79) to 2009. They both enjoyed travelling and crossed Australia on the Indian Pacific train journey for their honeymoon. Shortly after Harold’s death in April 2009 she had a fall at home, which lead to her move to Crossley Court in Orewa; but she always pined to return to Helensville. Her marriage to Harold brought her into the Jenkins family, and the valued friendship with her stepdaughter Jenny, husband John and son Thomas.
Through her parent’s families Doris was related to the Becrofts, Ballans, Vercoe, Shanks Dormer, Golden and Goad families. Doris had a great sense of family, and kept in touch with many cousins.
The Becroft home at 20 Porter Crescent was a treasure trove of family and district history and when the house had to be sold, Doris made over a wide variety of article and historical records to the Historical Society.
Doris died at Orewa on 30 July 2016, aged 97years.