Salute to pioneer Brian Stone

Brian Stone (98) from Bela-Bela, a pioneer figure in Springbokflats, has passed away. With him on the photo is his wife, Wendy.

Stone was considered one of the pioneers in the early days of Bela-Bela and Settlers. He was a respected member of the community and as such was a key role player in the establishment of the Settlers Agricultural high school, the bowls club in Settlers and was one of the founder charter members of the Warmbaths Rotary Club.

In an interview with The Post a couple of years ago, Stone said that he was born in 1920 and grew up in the Settlers area where his family owned the Springbok Flats Roller Mills, today the Chester Mills.

Stone was an employee of the Witwatersrand Gold Mine Company but later became a blacksmith at the then Warmbaths Blacksmiths and Engineering Company, before he finally became a farmer.

He took over the family farm, Hanover, in 1936, and continued to farm until 1996 after he married his second wife, Wendy. His first wife, Hazel, died in 1991.

His memories of his father’s first Model T-Ford that he bought for 15 pounds (R280 today) was vivid.

He also recalled how he had to go to school on horseback.

Stone and three other learners received their basic education from a Mrs. Duffy’s Private school for English learners in Settlers.

Another memory was when he worked with Hastings Banda on the Witwatersrand mines.

Banda later became the president of Malawi.

Stone shared a near death experience when they constructed the mill on their farm to the horror of his family.

The one thing everyone, especially those within the Rotary Club attested to, was Stone’s keen sense of humour, despite his age.

Stone was a distinguished member of the Warmbaths Rotary Club for 56 years and was bestowed a lifetime honorary membership and was recognised as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2016. He was a founder member of the club in 1962, according to Drummond Hammond, previous Rotary president.

He and Wendy stayed in the Renaissance retirement Village until his death.

Stone’s funeral will be held on Saturday 10 November at the Lord Milner school chapel at 11:00.

He leaves behind his wife and his two daughters and three step sons with their extended families. He was also the proud grandfather of 10 grandchildren and many great grandchildren.

Andries van der Heyde

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