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This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Stratford District Council’s Citizens Awards. For the past 20 years hard working locals have been recognised by the district for their contribution to the community and their endless giving. This year has been no different.
The recipients for the 2011 Stratford District Citizens Awards are: Gavin Belton, Joy Neild and Jeff Walker.
Stratford District Mayor Neil Volzke said "The nominations for the 2011 Citizens Awards have been of an extremely high quality, and it is great to recognise those that have shown outstanding dedication and commitment within our community".
The presentation ceremony is to be held in the Stratford District Council Chambers on Wednesday 13 July 2011 at 5.30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Gavin was born in New Plymouth and spent his childhood years growing up in Ngutuwera where his family were farmers. He later went farming at Kakaramea then moved with his family to Toko in 1963.Gavin became involved with bowling when he moved to Toko.
He has enjoyed his time with various local bowling clubs and even became an umpire. He has received four life memberships for bowling, these clubs being St Andrews Indoor Bowling, Central Taranaki Indoor Bowling, Indoor Bowls Taranaki Umpires Association and Outdoor Bowls Taranaki Umpires Association. He has also been a member of the Midhirst, RSA and Stratford Bowling Clubs.
He has held secretary and treasurer roles within the various clubs.During his years at Toko Gavin was involved with the Eastern Districts Scouts. He was awarded a bronze tiki after 23 years service.Gavin was a member of the Senior Citizens Committee for a number of years where he held position of treasurer.
Gavin continues to play bowls and is still a member of Grey Power where he has held the positions of treasurer, secretary, registration officer and writes the newsletter.
Joy was born in Stratford and spent her earlier years growing up in South Taranaki before moving back to Stratford with her husband Bill and their family, to farm.
Joy's love for people and the Stratford community has been evident with the many voluntary organisations she has been involved with.
In earlier years Joy followed her own children through Sunday school, guides and scouts at local and district levels, their local school and hockey committees and the Braeside National Dancing committee.
While looking for first aid advice more than 30 years ago, Joy stumbled upon Red Cross and has been apart of this organisation since. She has held all positions of office and has seen numerous projects through during her time. Joy was awarded a 30 year service badge for her service to the organisation a few years ago. Joy has also spent time volunteering at the Stratford Hospice shop for the past 7 years.
Joy has held positions of office within most the groups she has been involved with. She has been an avid supporter, organiser, fundraiser or committee member of the Stratford Women’s Club, Pembroke Road Hall committee, the Cancer Society's Daffodil Day, Stratford A & P Association, Stratford Horticultural Society, Stratford 125th Jubilee committee, TET Stadium committee, Taranaki Ayrshire Cattle Association, Kaponga Jersey Cattle Club, Stratford Positive Ageing Group and the Cardiff Garden Circle. And she still finds time to deliver meals on wheels!
Jeff grew up and completed his schooling years in Dunedin. After completing university at Otago he spent a year at teachers college in Christchurch. He was offered his very first teaching job at Stratford High school where he has remained for the past 26 years.
He has taught geography and social studies, where he has built strong relationships with young people and inspired learning inside and outside of the classroom.
Jeff played rugby for Otago with the Under 18's and Under 19's and in the A team in school level basketball. His own involvement in rugby and basketball may be why he has become so involved with numerous sporting codes.
Involved with rugby, basketball, rogaine, athletics, cricket and golf, Jeff has had various role within these sporting codes being a committee member, coach, referee, transport organiser and uniform cleaner.
Following his children Hannah and Hamish through their sporting interests has been rewarding for Jeff as well as seeing other young people have their own personal and team successes.
The impact Jeff continues to have on the many young people and those who have passed through the various sporting codes he has been involved with is outstanding.