Masters athlete in honours lineup

Last updated 11:07 06/06/2012

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Upper Hutt Leader

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Upper Hutt masters athlete Jim Blair is one of three Upper Hutt residents honoured by the Queen.

He has been made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to athletics in the Queen's Birthday and diamond jubilee honours list.

New Zealand Defence Force staff Major David Ackroyd and Warrant Officer Class 1 Christopher Wilson receive the New Zealand distinguished service decoration, both for services to the defence force.

Mr Blair, 80, featured on a recent Upper Hutt Leader front page with his haul of medals won in the past year including a gold and silver from the World Masters Athletics Indoor Champs in Finland.

He is the immediate past president of Athletics New Zealand and has been involved in a voluntary and paid capacity with athletics since the 1940s.

He is an Oceania delegate to the International Association of Athletic Federations.

He sat on the International Amateur Athletics Federation's masters committee for 12 years.

He co-founded Veteran Athletics in Wellington in 1979 and has had a strong involvement in masters athletics since then.

Mr Blair has been a Run Jump Throw programme instructor in Wellington primary schools since 1988 and for eight years was Athletics New Zealand Run Jump Throw programme manager.

Major Ackroyd served as logistics adviser to the Falintil- Forca de Defesa De Timor Leste from June 2004 to July 2005, and returned to serve a 12-month tour in 2010.

He was logistic adviser to the Logistic Commander of the F-FDTL in 2010.

In these roles he trained, provided advice and mentored Timor Leste officers in the tactical and operational aspects of military logistics.

The outcome has been the improvement in the skill level in logistics management within the F-FDTL.

He has been proactive within a multinational group of advisers helping to create a sound base upon which the F-FDTL can develop.

Mr Wilson served in Afghanistan within the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team from April to October 2010.

His duty as patrol liaison officer was to establish a network of relationships with both local government representatives and community leaders in the Kahmard and Sayghan districts of Bamyan province to promote reconstruction efforts in governance, development and security.

In June and July the local communities where he worked were devastated by the worst flooding in living memory.

His careful management of scarce resources resulted in significant relief being provided to the local population.

On August 3, his patrol commander, Lieutenant O'Donnell, was killed in an ambush. Mr Wilson had to take immediate command of the patrol.

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He provided the leadership and guidance necessary for the soldiers involved to come to terms with a traumatic event without losing operational integrity.

- Upper Hutt Leader

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