89-year-old finally completes report for fellowship, 50 years on

Ever had that nagging feeling that there's something you should have done? Well, it might not be too late. 

Keith Begg, 89, has just handed in a report that he was supposed to write for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust over 50 years ago.

He was awarded funding to study fish processing and handling around the world, but has only just written up his findings.

"I really thought that I would be chastised. Well, quite the contrary," Mr Begg told Newshub.

In 1966 Mr Begg, a young and enthusiastic fish processing innovator, was awarded £1000 funding by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to study best practices overseas to benefit the New Zealand fish industry.

His travels took him to 12 countries and 45 processing plants around the world.

Part of the deal was to write a report within six months of his return, and he did start it several times.

"It isn't pure procrastination, although you might put procrastination down to some of it, but life just got in the way," Mr Begg said.

A young family, work, moving, health and the death of his first wife - something always stopped him finishing it.

But it didn't keep him awake at night.

"Occasionally it did, but overly I didn't lose too much sleep over it because I knew that I would one day do it," he said.

That 'one day' came earlier this year after he enlisted professional help to compile all his notes and pictures.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was delighted.

"I couldn't believe it," says Trust chair, Bronwyn Smits.

"My jaw rather dropped and I said, 'Oh, what an amazing story'. Why would someone come back after all this time and firstly confess it's late, and actually come up with the goods, which is what's been so wonderful of him."

Despite not completing his report on time, he still accomplished his mission, finding answers to questions in every port around the world and passing them on to the Timaru Fishing Company and Sanford.

"Even though he didn't actually write a report he still fulfilled the specifications of the programme because he did transfer that information back," says Ms Smits.

"And the ultimate aim of the fellowship is to do that."

His biggest success was in bringing back the secret to making successful fish fingers.

His report is now rather more an historical document, but better late than never.

He'll receive a certificate from the Governor General at a special awards ceremony in October, making him the oldest person to become a Fellow of the Trust.