Catalogue of community service

22:35, May 06 2013
Pam Saunders
Community legacy: Blenheim volunteer and accomplished dress maker Pamela Saunders’ voluntary work in Marlborough includes more than 30 years looking after the Marlborough Historical Society’s textiles collection.

A hardworking Blenheim volunteer has earned the Rotary International's most prestigious award for decades of service in the Marlborough community.

The Blenheim South Rotary awarded Pamela Saunders the Paul Harris Fellowship last week, for a lifetime of service to her family, friends and community.

Mrs Saunders, 71, has devoted more than 30 years to the Marlborough Historical Society and was involved in setting up the Marlborough Women's Refuge and Lifeline.

The mother of four and grandmother of 10 was surprised when her name was announced at the Blenheim South Rotary meeting last week.

"I had absolutely no idea what was going on, I was wondering who they were talking about and got such a shock when they said my name," she said.

Blenheim South Rotary president Phill Kennard said while Mrs Saunders preferred to "fly under the radar", she played an important role in the community.


"She's done a lot of great things for a very long time to service the wider community in Blenheim."

The Paul Harris Fellowship, named after Rotary International's founder, was the highest award they could bestow, he said.

"There are a lot of people who do a lot of good work in the community, but Pam is one of those special people who always goes the extra mile."

As well as managing the Marlborough Museum's textile collection, Mrs Saunders has also been involved in Garden Marlborough, Blenheim Nativity Church, Blenheim Musical Theatre, Marlborough Repertory Society, Marlborough Music Society and Blenheim South Rotary.

Marlborough museum chief executive Steve Austin said Mrs Saunders' skills and knowledge were extremely valuable to the museum's textile collection - which was four times bigger than the Nelson Provincial Museum's textile collection.

A large part of Mrs Saunders' work at the museum included cataloguing and preserving the thousands of articles of heritage clothing, jewellery, uniforms and accessories in the textile collection.

But the modest volunteer said it had been thanks to the hard work of a host of people.

"That's what Blenheim's all about, there's a huge community of people who help others and I'm just part of a wonderful team."

The Marlborough Express