50-year Lion recognised

Local pride . . . Lions Club convention liaison Lynette Batt presents a 50 years membership award to Pounawea man John Burgess in Owaka last month. PHOTO: SUPPLIED


Owaka Lions Club member John Burgess was recognised for 50 years of community service last month, at the club’s 50th anniversary.

‘‘I’m not a charter member but I joined in that first year and had a lot of fun,’’ Mr Burgess said.

‘‘There’s plenty of work Lions does that gets coverage, but plenty more smaller stuff most people never hear about.’’

Life member Mr Burgess had been president once and a cabinet member twice, but was pleased to have ‘‘miraculously’’ avoided both the secretary’s and treasurer’s roles, he joked.

He mentioned notable achievements like the removal of the stockyards, two revamps of the Owaka playground — the second at a cost of $44,000 — and the 50th Jubilee project to build a helipad.

‘‘At the moment rescue helicopters land on the grass at the rugby grounds, which is the local Search and Rescue base,’’ Owaka Lions president Gordon Thompson said.

‘‘We’re planning on a 12m helipad so the pilots go from landing on a grass field in the dark to a raised, fully lit, purpose-built facility, and no doubt John will be involved as much as he can.’’

Aged ‘‘somewhere around 85’’, Mr Burgess had long been a stalwart of the club’s firewood supply project.

‘‘I’ve met so many people and the district needs it . . . Times have changed and maybe peoples’ desire for companionship and to contribute to something bigger isn’t expressed as readily as it used to be, but it’s still there and Lions is a great outlet for it.’’

Owaka Lions had 38 members and always wanted more, Mr Thompson said.