Certificate of appreciation marks ex chemist’s half century as Justice of the Peace

A half century’s a long time to be at the community’s beck and call, and Raglan identity Ralph Blanchard reckons he might call it quits on his Justice of the Peace work at the end of this year.

“I’m getting a bit old,” he told the Chronicle, lamenting the odd tiny error he’s made when validating documents.

He’s fixes them up all right but it’s not the tidiest, says the octogenarian. And he fears it could be a “lengthy business” if, say, a fresh document of some sort had to be sent from overseas.

Ralph’s 50 years of service as a JP around town was recognised recently when he was presented at his Bankart St home with a framed certificate of appreciation signed by JPs organisation chief executive and secretary for justice Andrew Bridgman.

Fellow Raglan JP Julie Hanna was there for the occasion, and said her colleague’s longtime voluntary work was “such a great achievement”.

She and Wayne Morris have become the town’s main ‘go-to’ JPs since Ralph – Raglan’s former pharmacist – sold his upper Bow St home of 45 years to divide his time between the Turangi holiday house he’s long owned and a “little unit” he and wife Judith have recently bought opposite the Sunset Motel.

Ralph says he’s not always here now and can’t do justice to the role like before. While in Turangi this month, for instance, he’s had calls from people needing documents validated before his return. “I think I’m going to give it up.”

He understands the Waikato JP Association will appoint another two or three JPs here very shortly.

A JP has the power to witness signatures on documents, certify copies of documents, complete affidavits or statutory declarations and confirm identities.

“In the old days we could open inquests and sign search warrants too,” says Ralph. But now people need to go to Hamilton or Ngaruawahia to get them, he says, and he’s not convinced of the logic behind the change when such documents are needed on the spot.

Edith Symes