Volunteers honoured



Hard-working volunteers in the Clutha community were honoured at an afternoon tea held at the Tokomairiro Presbyterian Church hall in Milton last week.

The gathering was hosted by Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker, in conjunction with the launch of National Volunteer Week.

Community volunteers often “give up hours and hours of voluntary work each year and don’t get thanked for their service. Today was an opportunity for me to thank them,” Mr Walker said.

More than 30 good Samaritans came together to share a hot drink and snacks and discuss their lives as volunteers.

One of them was Colin Heads, chairman of the Coronation Hall committee, who spends a great deal of his time tending to the upkeep of the town’s most prominent heritage building.

“The foundations were laid on the same date as the coronation of King Edward VII, which is how it got it’s name.”

The hall had been host to community events for more than 100 years, and that continued to the present day.

“There used to be shearing competitions, tug-of-wars, all kinds of things.”

It recently housed the Milton Poultry Show, and would soon play host to the Tokomairiro High School dance.

“We’re just getting a new boiler in, so it will be all ready to go for winter.”

But it was the historical value that stood out as important to him.

“We’ve lost so many of our buildings over the years – it’s outrageous,” Mr Heads said.

One of them was the Bruce Woollen Mill a couple of blocks away, which went into receivership in 2016.

“I think it’s important we preserve these buildings, so that’s what we do at the hall.”

Also at the event was Neil Walker, president of the South Otago Smallbore Rifle Association.

He had been involved in the club since 1975 and enjoyed helping new shooters learn the ropes, he said.

“You’re involved and if you don’t put in the effort you don’t get the enjoyment.”