It was lovely to see Jane Aim receive a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for her work with the Friends of Old St Paul’s.
Jane was one of the people I interviewed for my oral history project – she had so many amazing stories, I had to go back twice to finish the interview! She had a wonderful set of connections to the church – her mother was the third daughter of Richard John Seddon and his wife Louisa, who were members of the Old St Paul’s congregation. And on her father’s side, she is a Barraud – so related to the artist Charles Barraud who was a pivotal member of the early church community, and who painted the Illuminated Panels in the church. In the church, with its allocated pews for particular families, she told me there was always a ‘bit of a tussle between family members as to where we would sit’.
She and her parents were heavily involved in the fight to save Old St Paul’s, and have been part of the Friends of Old St Paul’s since the beginning. She was also baptised at the church, and married there, and her son and grandchildren have also been baptised there. Many funerals of family members have also taken place in the church, including the magnificent service for Richard John Seddon, as you can read here.
You can hear one of the clips from her interview here, where she talks about her grandmother taking US Marines who worshipped at Old St Paul’s during World War Two back to her place for Sunday roast.
She also talked in her interview about the ‘Pied Piper’ meeting in November 1965, to discuss the future of the church, when it was under threat of demolition or removal. Margaret Campbell, the Wellington City Councillor, waited for everyone to arrive and fill up the too-small meeting room where they were, and then took a key from her pocket and asked everyone to follow her, whereupon they crossed the road and filled up the Town Hall (as seen below). It was a dramatic moment which helped to show the importance placed on the church by the Wellington community.
Listen to Jane talking about the meeting, which helped set up the Friends of Old St Paul’s, here:
Article below and photo is from The Wellingtonian, 14 Jan 2016, and is copyright. Historic image is from Nov 1965, ‘Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: PICT-000046’. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22805938.