Reward for community service

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 02/06/2014
jane coughlan
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ
QSM: Former long-serving Timaru District councillor Jane Coughlan has been recognised for services to the community.

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Former long-serving Timaru District councillor Jane Coughlan has been recognised for services to the community with a Queen's Service Medal.

"I was a bit overwhelmed because I didn't expect it," she said.

Coughlan has spent many years doing her bit, including 21 years as a district councillor. She has also served on the Timaru Community Arts Council, Aigantighe Art Gallery, South Canterbury Museum, Women's Division of Federated Farmers and the Catholic Women's League, to name a few.

"It has been a busy life," she said. "I put it down to the fact I married a farmer. When I went to live on the farm I had to make friends ... the men managed quite well because they could trot up the road to the local tavern, but the women didn't do that."

Instead, she went to meetings, which not only helped her make many friends, but also made her a valuable contributor in her community.

Coughlan, a Catholic, was chosen as Christchurch's diocesan representative, one of three selected in the country, to attend the Laity Consultation in Rome in 1975.

"I was on a working group of 12 people ... John Paul II was in it. He went on to be John Paul II and I went on to be the ordinary housewife."

She was also the Ashburton Hospital Board's chairwoman from 1985 to 1989, having previously chaired the finance committee. Coughlan served as a trustee for various organisations and trusts.

She is grateful to her family and friends for their "tremendous" support throughout her busy life, she said.

"It's all of the people in the background who lend you support. For me it was my family and [husband] Tom, who put up with me going to meetings.

"You can't do it on your own. It's something that's got to be shared."

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- The Timaru Herald

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