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Volunteers thanked for time
Timaru Herald, Timaru Canterbury  by KOREN ALLPRESS
03 Aug 2017
General News - page 5 - 650 words - ID 821432958 - Photo: Yes - Type: News Item - Size: 860.00cm2

Several Timaru District residents have been acknowledged for their service to the community at the Trustpower Awards.

At the ceremony at the council chambers this week, the individual awards were handed out, followed by the Trustpower Timaru District Community Awards, which went to organisations.

Timaru District Mayor Damon Odey said at the ceremony on Monday the winners, and what they did for the district, were "very special".

Since 1999 the council had been offering individual community awards, and from 2001 the council partnered with Trustpower.

"We celebrate the good things that are happening in our backyard," Odey said.

He said they had struggled to track down some of the recipients because they were all "busy, out getting stuff done".

"What you give up to the community is the one thing you can never get back, and that's your time. It's the most valuable asset you've got," he said.

Councillor Paddy O'Reilly was a member of the selection committee tasked with choosing the award winners.

Reading through all of the submissions about all the things the nominees had been doing was "humbling", O'Reilly said.

Councillor and committee member Dave Jack presented the first of the individual awards to Paul Dewsbery, who he said had "given many years of valuable service to a number of organisations in South Canterbury".

They had included Rotary and Kiwi Can.

"[He has] never been slow to volunteer his services," Jack said.

Committee member Bernie Wilson presented Murray Dryden with an award for his services to Pleasant Point St John, saying Dryden showed "a level of commitment to the needs of the community which far exceeds the expectation of any officer".

"He puts in hundreds and hundreds of hours each year."

Wilson noted Dryden ran the station with pride and conviction.

Councillor Sally Parker presented Ken Elliot with an award for his services to the Otipua Wetlands Charitable Trust.

Parker said Elliot was a part of the team which helped develop the site. He had continued to put in hours of work each week since 2005, and he had ideas for how it could continue into the future.

Committee member Des Kearns presented Eileen Kerr with an award for her services to the Sisters of Mercy.

Kearns said she was "a motivated person with a very big heart".

Kerr said she had enjoyed her time with the organisation, and would not have been able to do it without the help of her sisters.

Mary Mitchell presented Mark Lowen with an award for his services to the South Canterbury Roller Club.

Mitchell said Lowen had helped design the new rink, fundraised for it and helped coach beginner skating sessions. He was also involved with the South Canterbury Drama League, and in 2016 he lead a team of Roncalli College students to Cambodia, where they helped build eight houses, and to Vietnam, where they developed gardens for disabled people.

Committee member Jo Taylor presented Neil McKinnon with an award for his service to Friends of the Aigantighe, a group that supports the Aigantighe Art Gallery. Taylor said McKinnon had spent a lot of time applying for grants, some of which went towards restoring artworks.

"The money Neil has raised over the years rises into the thousands," Taylor said.

Councillor Steve Wills presented Christine and Donald Talbot with an award for their 30-plus years fostering children.

Wills said the pair had looked after hundreds of children and had a huge impact on their lives.

Caption Text:
Ken Elliot, centre, whose voluntary work on behalf of the Otipua Wetlands Charitable Trust earned him an award.
Mark Lowen was honoured for his work with the South Canterbury Roller Club and South Canterbury Drama League, among other contributions.
Eileen Kerr, centre, recieves her award for services to the Sisters of Mercy.
Councillor Paddy O'Reilly, left, and mayor Damon Odey, right, present Neil McKinnon with and award for his service to Friends of the Aigantighe. PHOTOS: DOUG FIELD/STUFF

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