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Years in the making . . . Beryl Naismith stands proudly with her Melvin Jones Fellowship Award. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

Receiving a Melvin Jones Fellowship Award was not what Oamaru woman Beryl Naismith expected when she attended the latest Lions district convention.

It was not until she was called on stage in Geraldine to accept the award that she realised how memorable that particular convention would become.

Initially, “gobsmacked” and “speechless” were the only words she could muster when presented with the award.

“It was like being in a dream – it was a shell-shock.”

Mrs Naismith became involved with Lions clubs when she was married to her first husband about 43 years ago.

Over the years, she did a lot of behind-the-scenes work for the clubs with her husband. When he died, she continued to work with the Lions.

Now married to her second husband, Robert, Mrs Naismith works as bulletin editor for the Lions 202J district, a role she has held for the past 15 years.

The 202J district covers much of the east coast of the South Island.

Receiving the award was a surprise for Mrs Naismith as no-one had told her about it.

Her husband knew, but he had to keep his lips sealed in the weeks before the convention.

The Melvin Jones Fellowship Award is given to people in recognition of their humanitarian service to the international Lions foundation.

Members of the public can also receive the award.

Building friendships was the best part of Lions clubs, Mrs Naismith said.

“It’s the camaraderie while you’re doing something worthwhile,” she said.

Previously, Mrs Naismith had been involved in cubs and Camp Quality, a retreat set up for children battling cancer.

She said she planned to continue her humanitarian service by helping the Lions club for many years in the future.