Meet Lance Cairns – Former New Zealand Cricketer
I am the second eldest of five boys raised by a single mum in the ‘50s in Picton, a small town at the top of the south island, later well known as the berth for the inter island ferries.
I had no issues with hearing growing up, the best indicator of this would be my school work in primary school. I did very well learning wise.
High school was in Blenheim which meant a train trip of 40-50 minutes leaving the station at 8am, this meant I had a walk of nearly 2 miles to catch the train every morning. I ended up wagging more than attending and became very good at forging mum’s signature on the absentee notes!
Sport was always there and rest assured I was on hand when the Firsts had a game on.
I was making a name for myself in those early days in a couple of sports, hockey and cricket. Hockey and cricket were played on the same ground and this was about 100 yards from home. Played rep hockey for the men’s team at the age of 13 and for the top cricket team at the age of 15.
The day I turned 15 it was goodbye to school. Family wise it was always a big struggle financially so if I could earn a wage that was what I was going to do as soon as possible. It was off to the freezing works which, along with the railways solved Picton’s employment issues. After a couple of years work mum noticed that I was asking her to repeat herself too often but nothing was done at this time.
The big one that made me realise there was a problem was at the age of 23, when I had just made the New Zealand cricket team, Lindsay Yeo from the 2ZB radio station in Wellington wanted me to take part in a live quiz, which was to be done by telephone. This freaked me out, being live on air and realising I could stuff it up by not hearing what the questions were. I got through it, but it highlighted that I needed to say goodbye to the telephone.
A fact here is that my son Christopher and I had our first chat on a telephone when he was 40. The first thing he wanted to do when I came out of theatre after being implanted was to give me a ring, but I told him a little patience was required. He made sure he was the first to call when I was finally turned on.
My hearing loss could be traced to those early days in the works. Beside me where I worked they washed the carcases by hose and the water was forced out of the hose by air pressure creating a loud hissing noise. Ear muffs were not heard of in those days.
To be continued.