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Community link .. Waitaki Citizens Awards recipients for 2017. Back row, from left: Glenys Dawson, Warren Crawford, Bernard Wilkinson, Colin Murray, Donald Ellis. Front row, from left: Hilary Fleming , Avril Keep, Gordon Martin, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, Elizabeth Norton, Trevor Norton and Lyall Caldwell. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

More than a dozen Waitaki residents have won awards for their commitment to volunteering in the district at the annual Waitaki Citizens’ Awards ceremony, held at the Oamaru Opera House on Monday.

A Mayoral Commendation Award was also handed out for the first time at the annual event.

The award was created to recognise those who have previously received a citizens’ award and have continued their dedication and commitment in volunteering.

Bernard Wilkinson, who received a citizens’ award in 1996, was presented with a plaque by Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher in front of friends and family.

He quipped it would have to be modified to include the names of those who had volunteered at the Oamaru Combined Churches Foodbank, which he established more than 20 years ago.

In Mr Wilkinson’s citation, Mr Kircher spoke of his commitment to the foodbank, his involvement with the North Otago Anglican Homes for the Aged charity and Victim Support among others.

Mr Kircher said while Mr Wilkinson may have retired in theory 25 years ago, that was not the case in practice, and he had created a “legacy” in the district.

Lyall Caldwell, Avril Keep, Gordon Martin, Colin Murray, John Reid, Warren Crawford (all of Oamaru), Glenys Dawson (Omarama), Donald Ellis (Maheno), Hilary Fleming (Palmerston), Trevor and Elizabeth Norton (Hampden) and Ronald Sloan (East Otago) all received citizens awards for their volunteer efforts.

Mr Kircher thanked each of the award recipients for their service.

“All of the recipients are very deserving of recognition for their voluntary work across the district that positively affects so many others. The citizens’ awards are a significant event each year and it is a great privilege to be able to honour those who have given so much to our community.”