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Deserving dozen . . . Waitaki 2019 Citizens' Awards winners, with Mayor Gary Kircher (centre front), are (back, from left) Rod Philip, Lawrence McCraw, Gary Johnston, Gary Paterson and Sam Henderson, accepting on behalf of Pat and Dina Shannon, who were absent; (front, from left) Valerie and Graeme Shekleton, Brenda Adams, Brian Papps, Jane Naish and June Campbell. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Twelve of Waitaki’s finest residents have been honoured with 2019 Citizens’ Awards.

They were nominated by friends, family and colleagues who know how much these unsung heroes contribute to their community.

The awards were presented at a ceremony at the Oamaru Opera House on Monday.

Brenda Adams, who grew up on a Maerewhenua farm, has put in 50 years’ service at North Otago Motor Group. She shuns public attention but is a stalwart volunteer and record-keeper at the Waitaki Presbyterian Church.

June Campbell has contributed 45 years in Oamaru and Weston as a volunteer on school committees and sports clubs. She is famous for typing up minutes with extraordinary efficiency and has been known to send them back at 2am.

Gary Johnston, of Palmerston, has been a volunteer fireman and Masonic Lodge master and continues to be a JP and a strong voice for education. He is respected as a quiet and thoughtful leader in his area.

Lawrence McCraw is a veteran broadcaster who created Happy Days Radio, which he runs from his Palmerston home. He has triumphed over circumstances others may have found insurmountable to become a beloved local voice.

Jane Naish is a talented musician who is happy to share her gifts. She plays the organ, is a keen tramper who founded a walking club, champions Waitaki’s great outdoors and has been a formative environmentalist.

Brian Papps is a cricket player and coach who guided many young players. He represented North Otago at bowls and used exceptional organisation skills to mastermind the Easter Bowls Tournament for many years.

Gary Paterson is a Weston School teacher, coach and sports co-ordinator who inspires children. He established a cross-country event for primary school pupils and for more than 20 years has organised social sports and spent hours mowing turf and marking courts.

Rod Philip has been a major contributor to the Waihemo community for 50 years. An advocate and volunteer with great people skills, he served on the community board through a challenging period and helped improve walking access to the McKenzie Memorial Cairn.

Pat and Dina Shannon were green before it was fashionable. As early instigators of the Waihemo Wastebusters Resource Recovery Centre, they led the charge to recycle and reuse and brought about new attitudes to waste.

Graeme and Valerie Shekleton provide quiet love and support to a diverse group of people. They are humble and selfless in showing kindness at their local church, delivering meals on wheels and taking people shopping or to appointments.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said volunteers were the oil that made our district work better and it was “a considerable privilege” to acknowledge them with the awards.