Sheffield Telegraph old-boy merits award for work at home - in New Zealand

Chris Turver, originally from Broomhill, has become a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit
Chris Turver, originally from Broomhill, has become a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit
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It’s a long way from Broomhill to New Zealand - and Chris Turver has made the journey count more than most.

The 75-year-old, who was born on Newbould Lane at the height of the Sheffield Blitz in 1940, has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, after becoming something of a pillar of the community in his adopted homeland.

Chris, who went to Fulwood School and High Storrs Grammar and was a member of the Fulwood Scouts and Sea Cadets, was once a reporter on the Sheffield Telegraph when it was a daily newspaper.

After travelling Down Under he continued his career in journalism. He was the first New Zealand Press Association war correspondent to follow the country’s combat troops in Vietnam, where he was wounded in action, and also worked in the field in Borneo.

Chris spent 17 years with Radio New Zealand, taking on the role of political editor, and became head of news, current affairs and sport.

For nine years he was a regional councillor for Kapiti, where he lives on the coast about an hour north of the New Zealand capital, Wellington. He has also held the post of chief executive of the Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation, increasing the number of marine search and rescue units, and raising funds for new rescue equipment.

His official citation for the honour reads: “Mr Turver earned a reputation as a tireless fighter for local and regional issues including health, transport, environmental protection, boating safety, fire safety, crime prevention, and marine conservation.”

Chris started as a junior reporter on the weekly Woking News and Mail in 1957 - his family had moved to Surrey in 1954 - and won a job on the Telegraph in 1959.

His biggest front-page story was coverage of the cyclone which hit Sheffield in February 1962, causing widespread damage.

His family moved to New Zealand in 1959 and Chris followed just over two-and-a-half years later after completing his Diploma of Journalism course.

“Ironically none of my media employers in New Zealand ever showed the slightest interest in seeing it,” said Chris, who is married to wife Elizabeth, and has two sons and two grandsons.

“I still have a great fondness for Sheffield. I’ve been back three times, and seen it change from a post-war ugly duckling to a graceful swan.

“As for the award I deeply appreciate the recognition. What can never be forgotten is that nothing gets done without the goodwill and support of so many unsung heroes who get no public recognition – foremost among them is my wife Elizabeth – and this is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to them.”

New Zealand has its own honours system, but the final lists are still approved by the Queen on the advice of the country’s Prime Minister.