This lovely couple, Mike and Carole, were married five years ago, on 26 December 2013, in the chapel. The remarkable groom was 80 when he married and has gone around with a smile on his face ever since. Mike will turn 85 on 6 September this year. As Mike needs to spend much of his time at home now, Fritz has made a ramp at the entrance of the house and changed the bathroom into a shower room so that he can be more comfortable at home. Fortunately, Carole is able to care for him, so the couple make a good combination. They have many visitors.
Visitors are greeted with this cheerful sign above the door showing how visitors are appreciated
Mike greets visitors to his house on the ramp Fritz built
‘The happy lovebirds’
The legendary Queen Ann stove keeps the room warm;
|Mike was Sportsman of the Year at Selborne College way back in 1952. He played in three 1st teams and captained two of them|
Mike was selected to play for the South African Schools Cricket XI in 1952/3
Mike was selected to play for the Border Cricket XI for ten years
|The Directors of the Weir Group of Companies, Mike was MD of the Agriculture Division|
Mike’s life has been one of service to his community. He has lived in Hogsback for many years during which time he has made an impact. As a businessman he ran the shop for a while and of recent years he has been an estate agent. Many of the house sales in Hogsback, have his imprint on them. He is a committed Christian who has been fully involved with the Chapel. For decades he has been a Chapel Councillor and a lay-preacher and there are many instances of his being in demand to take weddings and services. He and his friend, Neil Cooper, ran the Christmas and Easter Arboretum services for many years. He has also played a role in many aspects of Hogsback, for instance he was Chairman of the Hobbiton-on-Hogsback Association and spent many years on the Community Police Forum to ensure security for the Hogsback community. One of the most special aspects of his life is how he has gone out of his way to help the needy with some amazing accomplishments. On one occasion he heard a young primary school child, Sipho, sing in the kitchen of the Lighthouse Steak Ranch (previously called The Enchanted Tree House restaurant) where Mike was eating. He asked to speak to the boy and suggested they sing ‘Silent Night’ together, as it was Christmas time. Together the two sang ‘Silent Night’ to the delight of the other patrons. Mike managed to get Sipho to sing in the chapel during the Carol Service where he wowed the congregation and a visitor offered a donation for him to join the Drakensberg Choir that year! Mike managed to get him accepted and Sipho was able to experience the highest level of voice training and education for a year. Earlier, he was able to help another disadvantaged child from Hogsback, Luke, to be adopted, and after 13 years is now at Bishop’s in Cape Town. Mike has enriched so many both as a lay-minister compassionately taking wedding services and being a caring benefactor to the underprivileged.
Mike was born in Johannesburg but has spent most of his life in East London and Hogsback. His schooling was at Cambridge Primary School and Selborne College. He excelled at sport where he played 1st team cricket, 1st team tennis and 1st team rugby in Standard 9 and 10. He captained cricket and tennis. He was outstanding at cricket reaching Border Schools and the national South African schools in 1952. He was an all-rounder and is blessed with a beautiful tenor voice which he used in church and theatre. In his final year he was recognised as the leader of the school becoming Custodian of the Key and Head boy. An interesting ‘world record’ was set up by the Queen’s bowler in 1950 against the Selborne 1st XI. That was the year Mike joined the 1st team. The Queen’s bowler, Edwards, claimed all 10 Selborne wickets without conceding a single run! Selborne was out for 10. Mike described this remarkable match, ‘It was a beautiful day. Play started a little late because of overnight rain and we were put in to bat. We had a very strong team containing several Border schools players, including Redmund Geach who had been selected for the SA Schools side. I opened the batting with Geach. In came Edwards, Geach played forward, got a nick to trevor Brown at slip and was gone first ball. Then followed a sad procession of quality Selborne batsmen as Edwards systematically scythed through the entire line-up.’ Top score was 3 with Mike scoring 2 out of the ten. ‘Edwards was magnificent, and I remember we all gathered round and heartily congratulated him.’
After school he stayed in East London where played cricket for Border as a batsman for 10 years. He worked for the Weir Group and became MD of the Agriculture Group. He led a superb team that resulted in him being declared the top dealer for three years. In 1982 he was awarded a trip to London to meet the President of Massey-Ferguson world-wide. To show his enterprise, he volunteered to go to Dordrecht even though it is an Afrikaans region and his Afrikaans was not strong. Not only did he learn to speak Afrikaans, but he stayed for three years and during that time he scored the highest turn-over ever. He did, however, have some rather strange experiences like having the police confront him to check that he was not playing golf when he went for a walk on the golf course on a Sunday! During that time, in the history of South Africa, nobody was allowed to play or partake in any sport on a Sunday.
Mike bought his property as a holiday home for his family in Hogsback in 1980. The name says it all, Tranquility. He has three children. Michele, lives in Grahamstown, where she runs a project to restore the health of donkeys, named amaTrac uluntu, which is a training and development non-profit organization registered in 2012. AmaTrac uluntu works with the local communities to support working donkey owners and how to give guidance. Laurel is a housewife in Wellington, New Zealand and Gary whom he fostered as a 16-year old boy, is an Anglican priest in New Zealand, in fact he is the Vicar general of Otago. Mike has six grandchildren, one in China, teaching English, and the others are all in New Zealand.
Carole, nee Minnaar, hails from Pretoria. She became a professional model, married in 1970 and has a son Bertus Smith. He is a lawyer, married to Adele and they live in Pretoria. Carole has 2 granddaughters. A fascinating time for Carole was when she joined the South African Embassy at Abrahamskraal in Umtata when the Transkei was an ‘independent’ Bantustan. The Transkei became an independent state in 1976. Amongst other jobs she would check passports into the ‘independent’ Transkei. Then she joined the East London Publicity Association in the late 1970s. At that stage she was a single parent with a son and Mike was also a single parent with 2 daughters and a foster son. They met for the very first time at the Arminel Hotel, where Mike and his 2 daughters and Carole and her son were spending the weekend. They met, and went out for a few years. After East London she spent 25 years with Nedbank at George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. It was much later that she and Mike got together again. This time it was a romantic engagement and they married in 2013. Carole moved to Hogsback where the couple are happily married at their home Tranquility.