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Shearer makes most of final days

Darryl and Ann Hart have travelled the country in their bus. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON

 

End of the line for ‘Golden’ shearer

 

Even before he was given just months to live, Darryl Hart was already living the good life. BECKIE WILSON reports.

 

Darryl Hart is determined to receive his first pension payment.

But the odds may be against the previous Golden Shears president who will have to battle against terminal cancer to reach his September birthday.

After being told by the oncologist in March that he had only two to four months to live, he and his wife of 43 years Ann, hit the road for one last trip.

“It’s all about how you deal with it and your attitude towards it,” Hart said.

“There’s always someone worse off than you are, that’s what I say to people.”

The Masterton couple had already been living life in the moment after buying a nine-metre bus in 2014 and touring the country.

The death of a close friend had jolted the couple who then thought, “let’s just go”.

“We just got to a stage where we had had enough of working, and we thought do we wait until we are 65, or do we do it now?” Hart said.

So, they sold up everything in Masterton, jammed their life belongings into a storage container and took to the road.

Living the dream, they never looked back as they travelled most of country, sightseeing and exploring parts of New Zealand they had never heard of.

“We looked around for a bus, found one, buggered off, then six months later you get told you have cancer,” he said.

“We’ve only done part of what we wanted to do originally in the bus, we just wanted to keep going, down to the South Island.

“But it is what it is,” he said.

Hart had already fought off prostate cancer back in 2005.

But in 2015 he received that fateful news again, but for Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a form of internal melanoma.

After dedicating a year to chemotherapy to fight it off, he thought he was in remission for a year and a half, so they went back to their work and travel lifestyle.

The pair have worked in camping grounds, fruit packhouses, and in the apple fields in places such as Motueka and Kaiteriteri while living in the bus.

Hart moved to Wairarapa from Blenheim in 1970 and went farming on the Farm Cadet Scheme for four years.

He then took to shearing for 14 years – that was when he got involved in Young Farmers and Golden Shears.

He worked on Hinewaka Shorthorns on and off for 20 years, and in between times he managed Omega Station in Wainuioru and leased some land in Castlepoint before leaving it all behind to work at Farmlands in Masterton.

Back in the day he played rugby for Gladstone and Red Star before taking up golf.

Hart was awarded his 25-year Golden Shears badge this year, along with the Alastair Simpson Memorial Trophy for services to Golden Shears.

He competed in this year’s veterans shear off in March, just weeks before finding out he had terminal cancer.

The couple wished they had thrown in their everyday jobs and bought the bus 10 years ago.

“Hindsight is a great thing but there’s no point in looking backwards,” he said.

Hart has the cancer sitting on his chest wall, and on lymph nodes under his arms, and in his lungs.

“You have to learn to talk about it and get it out there, a lot of people seem to shut themselves off and forget that friends want to help.

“I don’t believe in hiding anything, if you’ve got it you’ve got it.”

The couple plan to stay in their bus at Mawley Park for a couple more weeks before house-sitting for a friend.

Sadly, they are selling their beloved bus.

The couple have two children, Emanuel and Jodi, and four grandchildren.

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