The Trusts notes with great sadness the passing of former Portage Licensing Trust Trustee, Graeme Ross (Grae) Ellison.
Grae Ellison was a retired businessman who had made a strong commitment to education about and management of diabetes, particularly for people recently diagnosed with the disease. He and his wife Gail ran the Avondale/ New Lynn Diabetes Support Group.
He also believed in the work of The Trusts and was eventually persuaded to stand for election because he wanted to make a contribution to that work. It was a motivation that Gail says was typical of her husband.
“Grae was always helping people. He was just that type of person who needed to spread his knowledge and helpfulness where it was needed. Once he had committed himself to something, he had to see it through,” Mrs Ellison says.
“Helping others was his life’s work, it didn’t matter who they were or where they came from. Amongst others, he befriended several folk with mental health issues, whom he guided and listened to over the years. Graeme was their rock on many occasions. He was unflappable and calm in all situations, I’ve never once seen him panic, he just took everything in his stride,” she says.
Mrs Ellison believes that it was a mark of his standing in the community that when he did stand for election to the Portage Trust, he was unopposed.
“That was a family joke! He thought he would never have achieved it if he’d had to rely on votes, but I’m sure that’s not true. He was so popular and ‘straight up’ that people knew that he could be relied on.”
Portage Licensing Trust President Ross Clow joined Mrs Ellison in paying tribute to her late husband.
“Graeme will be sadly missed and our hearts go out to Gail and Grae’s family. He was a popular and hard working member of the board, who was liked personally by me and his other fellow board members and also by the staff at The Trusts. His input was valuable and he will be missed,” Mr Clow said.