Throughout her life, right up until his passing, Erle made her pledge that she would remember Red Cross and leave a bequest if able. He was not in a financial position to leave a bequest himself, so Shirley is carrying out his wishes.
Erle was recruited as a foot soldier in WWII, but vowed he would only go to war if he was able to save lives rather than hurt people. He was firm that he did not want to carry a gun. He trained with Red Cross and became a stretcher-bearer and medic, assisting for around four years in El Alamein in Egypt and Italy.
When Erle returned from the war, he continued to support Red Cross and was always thinking of ways he could help. He was constantly looking to inspire others to act and donate. In his 80s, he got himself a busking permit and would while away his days busking in the main streets of the Auckland CBD. His sign read ‘War veteran raising funds for the Red Cross,’ and he raised an incredible $10,000 over the years. For “an old guy” Shirley says he was pretty amazing.
At Erle’s memorial service, two young members from Red Cross attended to pay their respects. Shirley and the rest of Erle’s family were so appreciative and thought it was wonderful that their 93-year-old dad had impacted younger and future generations. “He would say ‘You have always got to be doing something for someone else.’”This is the message that Shirley wants to pass on as her legacy. She’s happy and proud to be able to carry out her father’s wishes and has now updated her Will to leave a bequest to Red Cross.