S Canty man wins national coastguard award

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 24/09/2012

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The "linchpin" of the South Canterbury Coastguard, senior skipper Tony Lister, has been named the organisation's national volunteer of the year.

Mr Lister's win was announced at the organisation's national awards ceremony in Rotorua on Saturday night.

Fellow South Canterbury Coastguard members described Mr Lister as the linchpin of the local organisation, which he has been involved in for 16 years.

Mr Lister received one of the five national awards made to individuals and coastguard units whose contributions were recognised at the organisation's national conference.

As well as being active on the water, Mr Lister is also involved with the local committee.

He has been the unit's safety officer and training officer since 2000 and has attended every crew and public training course held over that time.

In nominating him for the award, members cited his outstanding organisational, leadership and motivational qualities as being integral to the ongoing development of the South Canterbury unit.

"Tony has worked tirelessly behind the scenes for 16 years to build crucial local relationships on behalf of Coastguard," Coastguard New Zealand chief executive officer Patrick Holmes said of Mr Lister's award. "His dedication to keeping people safe at sea, and on the lakes and waterways of South Canterbury is extraordinary and worthy of national acknowledgement."

Mr Lister knows only too well what it can be like for those lost at sea, as he found himself in just that position when he tripped and fell overboard from his yacht while sailing opposite the Opihi rivermouth in February 2006.

Mr Lister attributed his survival to his lifejacket and someone on shore knowing his whereabouts.

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- The Timaru Herald

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