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Marlborough Midweek, Blenheim, NZ  by Paula Hulburt
12 Oct 2017
General News - page 1 - 655 words - ID 858179200 - Photo: Yes - Type: News Item - Size: 822.00cm2

Book festival crew takes top honours

Adding a little culture to the Marlborough calendar has seen the team behind the Marlborough Book Festival honoured for their work.

Organisers of the popular literary event were revealed as supreme winners in the region's biggest annual celebration of volunteers at the Trustpower Community Awards.

The annual awards pay tribute to volunteers who work to help benefit the community.

Voluntary groups from around the region gathered at the ASB Theatre Marlborough with friends and family to hear the results on Monday night.

Trustpower community relations representative Abbie Siely says the award acknowledges the Marlborough Book Festival's rapid rise to prominence.

"The Marlborough Readers and Writers Charitable Trust began in 2014 when a couple of friends saw a gap in the region's cultural calendar.

"They noted that many locals were either travelling away for readers and writers festivals, or simply not experiencing them.

"There was space in the national festival schedule for a winter event that would bring Marlborough to life in the colder months and add to the region's cultural diversity," she says.

The festival has grown from six authors at three venues in 2014 to 15 authors and journalists at six venues in 2017 with 1350 tickets sold.

"It's the vision, initiative and determination of these people that has made the Marlborough Book Festival a highlight on the calendars of book lovers and authors alike," says Abbie.

The festival beat 13 other finalists to take out the supreme award, while four youngsters battled it out for the Youth Spirit Award.

Rai Valley teenager Demi Blankendaal won for her commitment to the township, marking the third year in a row a Rai Valley Area School student has won the award.

Demi says being at a smaller school helps her achieve more than she might do at a larger one.

Her win sees her follow in the footsteps of previous year 13 students Anja Dunlop and Lisa Sandrey, who won in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

"In a small school you get the help you need, whereas larger schools might struggle," Demi says.

Demi plans to study agriculture at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, in Nelson, next year and will use part of her $500 prize to buy a car.

She also won $250 to put towards a charity of her choice and chose the Havelock Lions for all their help and input at the school.

For winning the supreme award, the Marlborough Readers and Writers Trust receives a framed certificate, a trophy, and $1500 prize money.

The group will go on to represent Marlborough at the 2017 Trustpower National Community Awards, which take place in Queenstown next April.

Trustpower Marlborough Community Awards Youth Spirit Award Finalist - Jack Dalton, Marlborough Boys' College Finalist - Laurie Duncan, Marlborough Girls' College Finalist - Maddi Anderson, Queen Charlotte College Winner - Demi Blankendaal, Rai Valley Area School Heritage and Environment Runner up - Te Whanau Hou Grovetown Lagoon Winner - Picton Dawn Chorus Health and Wellbeing Commendation - Picton Quilters Commendation - Marlborough Community Centre Trust Runner up - Volunteers St Vincent de Paul Picton Winner - Care Packages Marlborough Arts and Culture Runner up - Breakthrough Centre New Zealand (Bcre8ve) Winner - The Gallery Havelock Charitable Trust Sport and Leisure Runner up - Marlborough Netball Centre Winner - Picton Table Tennis Club Education and Child/Youth Development Commendation - Blenheim Rangers Girl Guiding NZ Runner up - Marlborough Youth Trust Winner - Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough Supreme Winner Marlborough Readers and Writers Charitable Trust

Caption Text:
Sharon Hill, Sophie Preece and Sonia O'Regan, from the Marlborough Readers and Writers Charitable Trust, which has been named Supreme Winners at the Trustpower Community Awards. See story on page 3. PHOTO: RICKY WILSON/STUFF
Marlborough Book Festival committee members, from left, Sharon Hill, Sonia O'Regan, Kat Pickford, Lorraine Carryer, Charlotte Patterson and Sophie Preece (absent: Karen Walshe) are Supreme Winners at the Trustpower Community Awards. PHOTO: JIM TANNOCK

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