Leaving Hampden after 20 years

SHARE

Ken Bridge will soon say goodbye to “one of the best kept secrets in New Zealand”.

In the next month or so, Mr Bridge will move to Dunedin from Hampden, a town he has lived in for the past 20 years.

“I wanted to move down to Dunedin while I can still drive,” Mr Bridge said.

He described Hampden as “marvellous, a lovely place to live and open to progress” and said he would miss it.

Mr Bridge, who told the Oamaru Mail he was “78 or 79” years-old, was the principal of Temuka High School (now Opihi College) when he bought his house in Hampden, originally as a holiday home.

But after a few visits to the North Otago community, he fell in love with the spot, and moved there permanently when he retired.

Even after retiring, Mr Bridge has maintained his passion for education.

He joined the University of the Third Age in Dunedin, and set up a branch in Oamaru.

The university arranges speakers to come and give lectures on a wide range of topics. It is designed for retired people, but is open to anyone.

“It took off, we had 200 people at the first meeting,” Mr Bridge said.

“I take my hat off to the course co-ordinators, they get some brilliant speakers.

“It gives people a new lease of life .. they go along to get their minds stimulated.”

The lectures provided all the stimulus of university without the exams, he said.

“It’s what learning was meant to be about – rather than the rat race it is now.”

He was the chairman for Hampden’s 130th celebrations, which were held in 2009.

Mr Bridge had his contributions to the community recognised in 2011 when he was awarded a Waitaki Citizen’s Award.