Harold, happy in name and in life
ASK anyone in Bellingen about Harold Metson and the immediate response is always, 'Oh, Happy
It was a nickname Camp Creative's founder, Bill Lockley, gave Harold more than 20 years ago and it stuck because it suited him so perfectly.
Harold Metson loved life - he loved people and travelling and singing and performing and living in Bellingen.
Born in Battle, Sussex, in 1909, from a young age Harold became involved in the boy scouts where he first discovered his passion for camping and walking. He first came to Australia during World War II as a carpenter/builder with the British Air Force.
In the 1960s he and his wife, Connie, returned to visit their son, Neil, who was working in Orange.
As Neil tells it, his parents soon 'hit the wallaby' and headed north via Cairns, where Harold worked for a while, before going on to the Northern Territory and Central Australia.
The couple returned to England but already Harold was hatching plans to emigrate.
After one false start that saw their overland trip stall in Turkey, they finally arrived in 1976.
A left-turn off the highway one day and the Metsons arrived and settled in Bellingen.
Camp Creative, however, was his great love and right up until he became a resident at Bellorana in 2006, he never missed a single camp.
President Peter Nance said Harold attended every single camp from day one and was still coming when he was in his early nineties.
It is a record that will take a long time to be broken.
One neighbour, Lois Clarke, remembers putting him on the train to Merimbula at 2am one year along with his thermos and packed lunch.
Another friend, Jaki Lockyer, got to know Harold when she was the Neighbour Aid co-ordinator.
She described him as an 'extraordinary man who was such a great model for healthy ageing'.
He was also a very caring man, who nursed his wife, Connie, devotedly through her final years. died on April 19, in his 100th year.