Roy and Mary McGowan

Roy was born in Bristol, England. He was one of the first people to join the RAF Volunteer Reserves when he worked for the Imperial Tobacco Company in 1937.  When World War II looked imminent, he was released by his employer for full-time training and took up full-time service for the Royal Air Force in 1939.  

Roy required major plastic surgery after being shot down in his single-seater Hawker Hurricane in 1940, during one of the pivotal battles of World War II: the Battle of Britain.  He was treated by a renowned New Zealand plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe.

During his recovery, Roy was posted to New Zealand where he helped set up fighter squadrons and fighter operation rooms.  

Mary was born in Brunei, went to boarding school in Singapore and was there when the Japanese invaded during WWII.  She met Roy in 1964 when he was working for IATA (International Air Transport Association) in Singapore.

In 1982, they retired to New Zealand and were originally located in Kerikeri before settling in Tauranga in 2000.

Roy always loved sailing, fishing and aviation, while Mary enjoyed playing bridge and reading.  They were both keen walkers.

Roy died in 2012 at age 94 and Mary's journey reached its end in December 2020, aged 95.

Roy and Mary’s fund will provide for organisations which benefit youth development in the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty areas, St John’s stations in Mt. Maunganui and Tauranga, CanTeen, the ongoing work of the Acorn Foundation and its peak body Community Foundations of New Zealand, as well as unrestricted funds.