David's dedicated duty

For the past 30 years David Turner has unfailingly showed up for his shifts at the Marlborough Citizens Advice Bureau, even after moving to Ward 15 years ago.

His dedication and selfless volunteering was recognised by the bureau on Tuesday last week when he was presented with a life membership certificate. In November he had been awarded with a long service award too.

Ever humble, David did his best to play down the award saying that what he had learned while volunteering with the bureau was payment enough.

"I joined after seeing an advert in the paper when the bureau was calling for volunteers," said David. "I was just keen to help out and do my part in contributing to the community."

His flexible working hours allowed David the time to volunteer at the bureau in between his day job, doing four shifts a month. Now retired he does two shifts, but for the past 15 years has had to drive, at his own expense, from Ward to Blenheim, a total round trip of 90km. Roughly calculated that works out at more than 30,000km.

Fellow volunteer, Val Ricketts, who joined at the same time as David, agreed that their payment was in the chance to help people out and learn something new each day. "Every question is different and you actually learn a lot for yourself here too," said Val.

She and David are the only two of the eight trainees from 1982 who are still volunteering at the Blenheim bureau. They joined just three years after it started and have seen, and adapted to, the various changes over the years.

"Back then everything was done on cards, there weren't any computers," remembered David.

Bureau volunteer and publicity officer, Alan McEvoy, presented David with his life membership and a gift, donated by the Moa Brewing Company.

The Marlborough Express