June Brandon was a familiar sight around Snells Beach for many years.
Staff and friends of Mahurangi East Library have paid tribute to one of their most long-serving and loyal customers, June Brandon, who died last month at the age of 96.
Until she moved to Amberlea Rest Home, June was a familiar figure around Snells Beach, riding on her mobility scooter with her pet dog aboard, and she was also an avid reader according to librarian Fleur Coleman.
“We will remember June always as one of our most charismatic library customers. She had a voracious appetite for reading,” she said. “Someone would see her mobility scooter pulling into the library carpark, with its St George flag flying behind, and the team would mobilise — one to collect last week’s books, one to collect this week’s orders off the hold-shelf.
“Nothing was going to get in the way of a good read. Even after her caregivers forbade her to come to the library, she was still sneaking out. Nobody was going to tell her what to do.”
Fleur said everyone at the library enjoyed the many stories of June’s long and interesting life, whether it was of her childhood in India or her war service in England, where she was the first person to develop and see photographs of the Dambusters bombing raid.
“June always had a kind word to say and asked after our staff and their families. She was particularly fond of animal stories and would only accept books read with an English accent,” Fleur added. “If June had been of Māori descent, you would’ve heard whānau say ‘a great tōtara has fallen’, so the equivalent for this English rose may be ‘a great oak has fallen’. We all feel honoured to have known her.”
June Brandon has a story about her life in India and her pet donkey Patsy in the Mahurangi East Community Library book, The Pearls of Wisdom. She was the subject of Mahurangi Matters’ Local Folk feature in 2016 — www.localmatters.co.nz/news/8016-local-folk-june-brandon.html