Just before he passed away, Bob Smith, former
committee member and lifelong supporter of the Cerebral Palsy
Society, completed his autobiography, ably assisted by his
great friend Doug Astley. Bob insisted that any proceeds from
the sale of “Overcoming Disability with Determination”
will be kept as a donation, benefitting various disability
groups, including our Society.
Receive your copy now of this entertaining book by donating
$20 to the Cerebral Palsy Society. Contact Harvey Brunt for
details ph 0800-503-603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Hancox Smith, Bob to his mates, had a remarkably
“normal” life for a Cerebral Palsy kiwi boy growing
up in the 1930’s and 40’s.
at his Bond & Bond Office
As it states in the forward to his self published autobiography
“Overcoming Disability with Determination” he managed
to pass School Certificate, ride a three wheeler bike, graduated
to driving a car and even owed a small boat. He was married and
divorced, travelled overseas and worked at Bond and Bond (later
known as Associated Wholesalers), for 30 plus years. He also held
various committee positions over the years, including the Cerebral
Bob was surrounded by a great family which included brother John
and sister Joyce. Right from the start he was accepted as just another
member of the family. Such support gave him the confidence to try
anything and certainly he gave everything a go.
As per usual the family struggled to enrol Bob at school. Inevitably
he was put into the too hard basket. Initially, through lack of
choice, Bob was a pupil of the correspondence school. Fortunately
his mother Betty Smith (nee Hancox) was a teacher and she gave him
a good grounding in education.
However when the school gates eventually opened for him he didn’t
hold back, even when it came to sports. On the practice fields he
was blitzed by a cricket ball, trampled by a rugby scrum and knocked
to the ground in the boxing ring. But he still got up for more.
After being teased at Primary school he didn’t do too badly
at Timaru High School, befriending fellow pupils and teachers who
helped him overcome obstacles, like carrying books from one class
to another. One of his most vivid memories was taking his typewriter
to the changing room, right next door to the men’s toilet,
to sit his School Cert English exam.
In 1960 Bob received a major boost to his confidence when he was
employed by Bond and Bond. The company took him on for a four week
trial period, checking invoices. He got the job but received under
rate pay subsidized by Social Welfare. For years he diligently worked
over time and finally produced enough output to receive a full clerk’s
wage. He stayed at his post until 1991