Awards for Waitaki citizens

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Eight people from the Waitaki district who have made a considerable contribution to their communities were singled out yesterday afternoon during an award ceremony at the Oamaru Opera House.

Mayor Gary Kircher, said it was a special opportunity to honour people in the community and he congratulated all the recipients of the Waitaki Citizens Awards.

“The one thing all these people have in common is their humility, and also they have all enjoyed what they’ve done.”

He said it was a great thing to be able to acknowledge those people receiving awards yesterday.

The recipients were:

Dawn Harrison became part of St Luke’s Parish and later, after moving into town in 1977, joined St Mary’s Church. St Mary’s encouraged Dawn to become a Lay Minister and then she became People’s Warden two years ago. Dawn volunteers for the Foodbank in France Street and gives her time on a daily basis through her volunteer work in the Christian bookshop, the Save the Children and through her Lay Minister duties.

June Blakey became involved in the Oamaru Repertory Society and began acting in and directing productions. In 1973 June was elected as librarian of the society and has served on the committee ever since. As a competent director June has delighted audiences for over 50 years and has introduced many to live theatre in North Otago.

Peter Watson has been involved in the St Vincent de Paul over the past 45 years. He is a conference member of St Vincent de Paul and does home visits to families and individual, and has supported those less fortunate in our district in a non-judgemental and compassionate way for more than 40 years.

Eileen and Malcolm McMillan have been ‘retired’ in the Lake Ohau Alpine Village for many years. Eileen has been a member of the Ohau Village Committee since 2003, originator and editor of the Ohau village newsletter, committee member and secretary/treasurer of Lake Ohau Alpine Village Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc from 2010, secretary Ohau Conservation Trust from 2004, secretary Ohau Protection Society from 2010 and author of 508 page bood on the history of Ohau and the surrounding area. Malcolm has been the chairperson of Lake Ohau Alpine Village Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc since 2010, treasurer of the Ohau Protection Society and an active member of the Ohau Conservation Trust since its inception in 2004, and is a Justice of the Peace.

Les McCullough has rejuvenated the Oamaru Rowing Club. The club now has about 12 racing boats in Oamaru and Ruataniwha, plus additional training boats, boat trailers, safety and coach boats. Les was club president of the Rowing Club from 1998-2007 and Life Member since 2008.

Ethel Gray trained as a nurse in Waimate and always been involved in elderly care. In Oamaru, Ethel was chairperson of Aged Concern Waitaki and started Meals on Wheels. Ethel took over Whalan Lodge in Kurow for a time and built the business back up from 3-13 residents within 12 months. Ethel has been the voluntary manager for the Whalan Lodge Trust for the last six months. She was the treasurer/chairperson of the Waitaki Valley Community and helped establish the children’s playground and newly-furnished gymasium.

Neville Cowles has made a tremendous contribution to the Waitaki community through his music. He continues to be available to play the Last Post at returned soldiers’ funerals and has served the community in this capacity for more than 50 years at ANZAC services, parades, funerals and musicals.