Farewell to Bill Berrett

Bill Berrett and his wife Sheila were part time residents of Helensville over the period 1990s to early 2000s. Their English home was Yorkshire for the UK summer months, then they moved to New Zealand for a second (southern) summer. Their final Helensville home base was the cottage with the striped roof in Kowhai Street, opposite Gerald Stokes Avenue, which they renovated to resemble its original state.
Bill was a retired town planner, and had lead the team which planned the new city of Milton Keynes, 72 km north-west of London, opening in 1967. He was very interested in railways, and the way they could improve the spread of population. Through this interest he became involved with the Helensville & District Historical Society and the Helensville Railway trust. Working closely with Fred Hendon, Peter Reaves and other Museum people, and Arnold Gosling and the team from the Railway Trust he drew up a series of plans and proposals for the improvement of transport and linear development, based on the railway line in the western and north western area of Auckland.
When Peter Reaves wrote “The Kaipara Line” (published 2000) he worked closely with Bill Berrett on both historical and future planning ideas incorporating some of his designs, and railway sketches.
He also encouraged the Historical Society in its proposed move to a new site away from the main street with room for development, (Mill Road) and was generous with his time and ability in planning matters.
Long term members of the Historical Society remember Bill and Sheila with affection and were saddened to hear of Bill’s death on 8th November 2016, at his home in Ilkley, Yorkshire. Bill is survived by his wife Sheila, and daughters Helen and Lucy.
Supplied by Wynne HaySmith

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