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New Zealand’s Top Ten Volunteers Honoured By Lions

New Zealand’s Top Ten Volunteers Honoured By Lions Clubs

Hundreds of New Zealanders selflessly give time to their communities every year. These efforts often go unrecognised – but not this year.

In the spirit of International Year of the Volunteer, Lions Clubs New Zealand is celebrating the life long volunteer works of non-Lions members. Lions have selected ten people, one from each district, as part of the Lions ‘Top Ten Volunteers Project’, in an effort to hightlight their incredible acheivements.

Lions Clubs, who often work along side many other volunteers groups and individuals, are well placed to promote the tireless efforts of people in their own communities.

The United Nations designated 2001 as International Year of the Volunteer in an effort to recognise and promote volunteering, and to also increase facilitation and networking within communities around the world.

Lions Clubs New Zealand would like to congratulate all the nominees for their incredible time and effort given to the community. The ‘Top Ten Volunteers’ all have outstanding stories of lives dedicated to their communities. They have all, in different ways contributed greatly to their regions and enhanced the lives of thousands. Choosing one volunteer from each district, however, proved to be a difficult task!

Lions Clubs is proud to honor the following people as the Lions Top Ten Volunteers

202A “Top Ten Volunteer” – John Moffatt
(Nominated by the Pukekohe Lions Club)
Media Contact: Sarolta Bernhardt Ph: 025 270 2135
For over thirty years, John has been involved with coaching and supporting youth athletics in Pukehohe. His dedication to athletics, the Special Olympics, organisation of fitness programmes and time spent travelling with athletes has seen many youngsters achieve their full potential and many young people achieve gold medals at New Zealand championship level. John’s encouragement and support of youth has been unwavering. “A self effacing man who has done what he has done for the sheer enjoyment of helping youngsters to achieve.”

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202B “Top Ten Volunteer” – Beth Overend
(Nominated by Gisborne Sun City Lions Club)
Media Contact: Harry Sansom Ph: 025 246 3239
Beth has been involved with the Red Cross for 61 years, helping in the Volunteer Aid Division during the war. She was an instigator of the “Meals on Wheels” service, that started with three drivers and now has over 100. The Gisborne Theatre Arts, Cancer Society and Church Youth Camps have all benefited from her support, time and fundraising efforts. Beth has also served on the Local Council, National Council Board and Regional Board. Beth was also actively involved in the five-year changeover from the old Cook Hospital to the new Gisborne Hospital. “Beth possesses a tremendous ability to care for people’s well-being.”

202C “Top Ten Volunteer” – Prue Edmondson
(Nominated by the Te Aroha Mountain Lions)
Media Contact: Hugh Makgill Ph: 025 979 093
Since 1957, Prue has been actively involved in the Te Aroha Dramatic Society, Te Aroha Hack and Hunters Club, and the [Speech and Drama] Competitions Society. Prue has put in 25 years of support, through weekly riding, committee membership and fundraising for the Riding for the Disabled. At 85 years of age, Prue is still actively pursuing additional areas of volunteerism, including working as a Te Aroha Drop in Centre volunteer and also reading to elderly in the community. “Despite hospitalisation at various times, Prue bounces back hardly missing a beat on her return to her various activities.”

202D “Top Ten Volunteer” – George Turner
(Nominated by Bell Block Puketapu)
Media Contact: Vera Madgwick Ph: 06 278 5063
As an amputee, George has served for the Amputee Society in Taranaki since 1966 and has been president for 14 years, giving support, counselling and on-going advice to new amputees within the region. With his wife Beth, he has raised money for the society, sending people to conferences. For ten years George was the Industrial Chaplain for many industrial firms and the New Plymouth Prison. He is a popular marriage celebrant. “He has not let is own physical disability prevent him from giving his all to the wider community. Nothing is too much trouble for him, he is someone to be relied upon.”

202E “Top Ten Volunteer” – Willard Rae
(Nominated by the Lioness Club of Rangiora District Inc)
Media Contact: Melville Syme Ph: 021 635 360
Willard was the foundation member and co-ordinator of the Rangiora Cancer Support Group over 19 years ago. The team has now 25 members – one of the strongest in the country. Her untiring service mainly in the area of cancer support has included Daffodil Day, giving meals, making up Christmas parcels and visiting families. Her counselling skills have helped untold families during difficult times and she has spent much time ensuring that children who have lost parents to cancer receive the best care. Willard is a cancer survivor herself. “Willard is very humble in her attitude for the work that she does and says that she always gets back twice as much as she puts in. We feel that this lady is a truly remarkable person.”

202F “Top Ten Volunteer” – Rose Hewson
(Nominated by the Lions Club of Owaka)
Media Contact: Margaret Gibson Ph: 025 935 921
Rose has been a volunteer in Owaka for the last 38 years. She has been involved with Plunket, Owaka Rural Women and was as inaugural member of the Owaka Play Centre. She has fundraised and assisted schools, playgrounds, horticultural societies, IHC, local tourism and beautification societies. Rose has been an active local historian, as a member of the Caitlins Historical Society for 21 years, President for 12 years and now curator. As well as servicing the local community with meals on wheels, school bus driving and historical research, Rose has been involved with AFS, hosting international visitors to her community. “Rose is an energetic volunteer with many skills she has shared with the whole community.”

202G “Top Ten Volunteer” – Les Day
(Nominated by the Kaikohe Lions Club)
Media Contact: Cliff Heywood Ph: 025 624 0890
Lee has been involved in Kaikohe, the Bay of Islands and Hokianga for more than 50 years. He has been actively involved in the RSA for 54 years, and is currently president. His great passion has been education and youth, serving on local Board of Governors, the Auckland Education Board for 14 years, and he has been an active supporter of DARE. He has also been involved in his local swimming and bowling clubs, and been a member of Rotary for 40 years. “Les has tirelessly shared his knowledge with others in his community.”

202H “Top Ten Volunteer” – Roy Sanson
(Nominated by the Lions Club of Levin Waiopehu)
Media Contact: Ken Daniels Ph: 04 971 6505
Roy has worked relentlessly for the last ten years helping to establish community programmes, particularly with a youth focus, in the Horowhenua. He has been responsible for projects such as the Levin Skate Park development, the Horowhenua young cyclist of the year competition, Blue Light Trolley Derby, emergency services programmes, community patrols and countless other fundraising activities. “Roy is one of those people that has the best interests of the community at heart”.

202I “Top Ten Volunteer” – Nancy Lowe
(Nominated by Omokoroa & Districts Pakeke Lions Club)
Media Contact: Sheree McKenzie Ph: 025 505 0841
Nancy was instrumental in the Omokoroa Community Craft Group that raised thousands for charities in the community. She has been an active member of the Country Women’s Institute, also helping to fundraise. Nancy has ‘adopted’ a family of four whose mother is suffering from cancer through the church’s “Love Link” programme, helping them in any way she can. “Nancy has earned the admiration and respect of Omokoroa residents over many years for her unselfish dedication to the needs of others.”

202J “Top Ten Volunteer” – Eileen Hayes
(Nominated by the Lions Club of Taieri)
Media Contact: John Stewart Ph: 03 417 7183
Eileen’s local district involvement in Taieri began in 1957, starting with Girl Guides. She has worked with Brownie Camps, the Children’s Holiday Club, Sunday schools, the Outram Library and Outram Senior Citizens, on church fares and newsletters, and she is a member of the Board of Directors for the Outram Medical Centre. Eileen has been with the Berwick Maungatua Red Cross Branch for many years, and has been a member of the Lions Red Cross Combined Emergency Welfare Unit for 16 years. Each year Eileen collects for the NZ Foundation for the Blind, St John Ambulance, Arthritis Foundation, Salvation Army, MS Foundation and the Red Cross.
“A very humble person who asks no favours, no recognition for the many, many hours of community service she has given and is still giving.”


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