Celebrated for energetic community efforts

16:00, Nov 20 2012

A tireless dedication to his community has caused Eltham's Don Drabble to be labelled a local hero.

The 83-year-old historian was one of eight people honoured for their contribution to the community at last night's Local Heroes presentation in New Plymouth.

Mr Drabble is also known as the "Father of the Town Hall" after he spent countless hours saving and restoring it.

He has been a stalwart of the Eltham District Historical Society for decades, wrote a book about Chew Chong, and is a life member of the Eltham Savage Club - he never missed a meeting in more than 60 years. Mr Drabble was delighted with his award last night, and wife, Margaret, said it had made his busy schedule over the years worthwhile.

"He would be out 13 out of 14 nights," she said.

The Lions life member is also said to be an entertaining storyteller, and a dab hand at playing keyboard, harmonica and double bass.


Deputy Mayor Alex Ballantyne said he was the most hardworking and conscientious volunteer in Eltham.

Other Taranaki people to receive Local Heroes medals were Grant Hurley, Gus Berghan, Marion Campbell, Judy Webley, Ray Campbell and Jean Dobbs.

Mrs Dobbs, of Inglewood, has worked with St John's Ambulance for 36 years and said she could not believe "little old me" was being awarded for her efforts. "I think it's just helping the sick and injured people that keeps me in it. When it comes to people, or animals, I don't like to see anything suffering."

Mrs Dobbs has been involved in pony club, hockey, musical performances, and is never short of a joke, according to her nominator.

"It's pretty cheap medicine to have a laugh, isn't it."

Ten Local Heroes will be chosen nation-wide and a New Zealand Local Hero of the Year will be announced at the awards gala next February.

Taranaki Daily News