JOHN COSGROVE and YVONNE O’HARA
Three former presidents of the Waitahuna Collie Club were honoured when they received life memberships to the club recently.
With about 110 years of combined service to the club, brothers John and Roger Tweed, and Ralph Brown received their accolades at a surprise party earlier this month.
‘‘We were surprised when we walked into the hall and saw all our friends and acquaintances there,’’ John Tweed said.
He has been with the club for about 47 years, and had no idea the ‘do’ was in part for him.
The first he knew about it was when when his daughter, Claire Smith, and her three children appeared at the hall.
‘‘They — the organisers — were cunning . . . and it was very well done.’’
He was 16 when he was asked to come along to the club to liberate sheep, putting them in a spot where a competitor then picked them up.
He found it so interesting, he brought along a dog to compete with the following year.
‘‘I was soon training dogs to be competitive and we soon started going to other dog trials around the country.’’
Roger Tweed said he had no idea about the honour as the function had been called a ‘‘bit of a club do’’.
When he and wife Judy arrived, he saw his son, Graham, and two daughters, Steph and Kelly, there, and thought they might have had something to do with his 60th birthday the next day.
‘‘They kept it a secret exceptionally well and it was very well done.’’
He followed his brother into the sport by helping out.
‘‘The nice thing with dog trialling is it does not have a use-by date. As we get older we are still getting better, still competitive.’’
Waitahuna farmer Ralph Brown joined because of his love for dogs and he also wanted to prove to himself that he could do it.
‘‘It took me very much by surprise and I feel honoured. It was a great fun night. We have got a pretty cool wee club going here.’’
WCC president Kyle Burnett said the club had to cancel its dog trials because of Covid-19 and they decided to do something positive for the year, and honouring the men was a good way to do it.
‘‘It is really important to recognise their service and commitment to the club, and even today you can always find them all helping out behind the scenes.’’
In addition to receiving badges, they took part in a ‘Sports Cafe’-style interview talking about their association with the sport and the club.
‘‘We thought we would just wing it and we didn’t know how well it was going to go, but it went really well.’’