Volunteers 'make community richer'

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 05/10/2013

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Six people have been recognised for their volunteer work in Invercargill.

This year's Invercargill City Council Civic Honours Award recipients are Invercargill city councillor and Salvation Army volunteer Thelma Buck, Southland Asthma Society advocate Sylvia Gillies, architect Mick Hesselin, who donates his time to help save Invercargill's heritage buildings, sailing mentor and rotarian Tom Sawyer, Cancer Society volunteer Maureen Smith and Alastair Tait, member of multiple sports organisations.

The awards acknowledge recipients for their voluntary service to the community.

A ceremony to present each volunteer with a silver medal and the community's thanks was held at the Civic Theatre yesterday, led by Mayor Tim Shadbolt and council chief executive Richard King.

"In all fields [the recipients] make our community richer by the unselfish donation of their skills, time and knowledge," Mr Shadbolt said.

Mrs Buck, a city councillor for 21 years, was known for fighting to keep the rates down and battling to get services for south Invercargill, an area of the city she has a soft spot for. She drove a project to feed young people at the Clifton Salvation Army facility during her time on the Invercargill Licensing Trust board.

"Not only did Thelma drive the project . . . but she was there most Friday nights helping to cook and serve the meals," Mr King said.

Sylvia Gillies was honoured for more than 40 years of continuous voluntary service for Southlanders with tuberculosis and asthma.

She is an active committee member of the Southland Asthma Society.

Mick Hesselin has had an important role in the restoration of some of Invercargill's finest and old buildings, including the refurbishment of the Invercargill Courts, Yule House, and former Bank of New South Wales building.

He also provided free architectural advice for projects in some rural Southland communities.

Tom Sawyer received an honour for volunteering his time, his home, and his positivity to organisations he was involved with.

Mr Sawyer was involved with the Spirit of New Zealand, a sailing ship which provides leadership programmes for young people.

Maureen Smith has been a volunteer for the Cancer Society and hostess to the Oncology Unit at Southland Hospital for more than 25 years.

Alastair Tait has coached rugby at primary school and senior club levels, and is a former coach, selector, and manager of the Southland rugby team. Mr Tait was also a member of the New Zealand Rugby Union from 1977, and was the Southland co-ordinator for the 1987 Rugby World Cup.

The Invercargill City Council Civic Honours Awards are held every three years.

More than 60 members of the community have been honoured since the awards began in 1984.

ROLL OF HONOUR

2013 Civic Honours Awards Recipients

Thelma Buck: Retiring Invercargill City councillor, former ILT board member, Salvation Army volunteer and advocate for those on low incomes.

Sylvia Gillies: Southland Asthma Society volunteer.

Mick Hesselin: Champion for Invercargill's heritage buildings, president of Anderson Park Art Gallery and former board member of the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.

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Tom Sawyer: Sailing mentor, Chamber of Commerce former president, Rotarian, and president of the Kumagaya Friendship Association.

Maureen Smith: Cancer Society volunteer and oncology unit hostess.

Alastair Tait: Rugby stalwart, Rotarian, Mason, president of Bowls Southland executive board, Deacon at First Church and Grey Power committee member. 

- The Southland Times

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