Two named Local Heroes in Upper Hutt

Last updated 16:20 27/11/2012

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Helping animals in need and fundraising for charity have earned two Upper Hutt people, Dave Willis and Carolyn Press-McKenzie, New Zealander of the Year local hero medals.

Dave Wills is a local volunteer firefighter in Silverstream.

For the past two years he has entered the Sky Tower firefighters stair climb challenge to raise money for the Leukaemia & Blood Cancer Foundation.

Wearing full firefighting kit he climbs the 1103 steps (51 flights) of Auckland's Sky Tower.

This year he galvanised the Wellington community to get behind the Leukaemia & Blood Cancer Foundation and raising more than $15,000 for charity alone.

''It's a tough challenge but not as tough as the challenge faced by those with leukaemia or other blood-borne diseases and that's who I'm raising money for.''

Carolyn Press-McKenzie has dedicated her life to helping animals in need. But it's her role in helping the Helping You Help Animals (HUHA) Charity and managing the animal sanctuary in Pakuratahi where her impact is most widely felt.

With her husband, Jim, and volunteers, the sanctuary provides a 13-acre safe haven for injured, neglected and abused animals and wildlife.

The sanctuary is constantly growing and has many animals in its care but also provides an interactive learning environment for visiting groups and school classes, helping them to understand first hand why animals don't deserve to be treated as disposable.

Mrs Press-McKenzie also played a key role in rehoming animals following the Christchurch earthquakes.

The shelters were overwhelmed with homeless animals and within 24 hours of the first call for help, Mrs Press-McKenzie was on the ferry and drove to Christchurch in a truck to get animals to rehome in Wellington.

Three trips were made and HUHA successfully rehomed more than 150 animals.

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