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Coombrae Home ‘Naval Base’

Coombrae Home ‘Naval Base’

Coombrae Home resident George Dudley with his scale model collection.

When George Dudley moved into Enliven’s Coombrae Home in Feilding a year ago he was inspired to take up a new hobby, turning his room into a naval base.

George has made more than 30 scale models of Navy ships and is still going. Each model has taken him about two weeks to complete and is displayed on shelves around his room.

“The manager put in another shelf for me when I had filled the other ones up. We’ll need to put in another one soon!”

George says he only makes models of ships, which comes as no surprise after spending almost 50 years in the Royal New Zealand Navy, first as a chef, then as a security officer.

“I dedicated my life to the Navy. On my favourite ship there were 12 chefs and 550 mouths to feed breakfast, dinner and supper to. It was my life going to sea. I loved the lifestyle and the relationships I formed,” he says.

“I joined the Navy because it provided the chance to travel and it was my childhood dream. There’s not many places I haven’t been – Everywhere but America.”

Amidst his travels with the Navy, George met his wife-to-be.

“We were only in England for six months and on the second day I met my wife. We hit it off and got married two weeks before I was due to sail back to New Zealand.”

George had planned to meet his wife back in New Zealand, but on the way his ship was called upon to battle in the Suez Canal conflict.

“It was three months before we saw each other again. She passed away 12 years ago after we spent many happy years together.”

George moved into Coombrae Home last year and says he couldn’t be happier.

“I chose Coombrae because I needed extra support and I had heard good things about it. I’m spoilt rotten and loving every minute of it.”

To find out more about Enliven’s Coombrae Home located at 34 North Street in Feilding, call 06 323 4491, email coombrae@psc.org.nz or click here. 

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