Volunteers who selflessly do bit saluted

16:00, Nov 29 2013

Seven volunteer heroes from throughout Southland and Otago have shiny new medals dangling from their necks.

The Kiwibank Local Heroes awards ceremony at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery last night officially recognised extraordinary achievements by recipients within their organisations.

Tony Smith was largely responsible for the formation of the Clyde Coastguard Unit and has had an eight-year involvement as a volunteer.

He is the go-to person in the development of the unit.

For more than 13 years, Cecilia Sullivan-Grant has worked primarily as a self-employment adviser to people with disabilities so severe that mainstream work was not an option.

Laurie Officer was one of the founding members of Coastguard Southland Air Patrol unit in 1998.


As president, he has guided its development and worked tirelessly to promote the development of air patrols within the organisation.

Off-the-road or track octogenarian Margarette Sutton has also devoted many voluntary hours to her role as treasurer of the Southland Veterans' Masters and also volunteers at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

With Marie Richards' drive, the Glengarry East Side Baptist Church has undertaken initiatives to help people within the Glengarry community.

She has also volunteered as a community support worker for intellectually handicapped children.

Gore's sole dance studio owner Rachel Ferguson not only teaches her students how to ballroom dance, she also takes them under her wing, treating them like her own.

She organises an inter-school dancing competition in her free time, travelling to colleges around the district. She arranges the Southland Festival of Dance each year in May.

She is also heavily involved with the Gore community, last year organising a charity concert for a local child with a rare muscle disorder.

Derek Welsh (Stampy) was the postmaster in Te Anau for many years. Now, at the age of 86, he is resident gardener and maintenance man at the Te Anau Club.

For more than 30 years, Stampy has been at the gates of the Te Anau Rugby collecting in all types of weather, and is a life member and regular volunteer at the Te Anau Golf Club.

Now in their fifth year, the annual Kiwibank Local Hero Awards gave people in the community the chance to nominate anyone they thought had made a powerful impact on the lives of others, national awards manager Glyn Taylor said.

This year, some 115 medals will be presented nationwide over the next few weeks, with one national Local Heroes winner to be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Gala Awards in Auckland next February.

The Southland Times