Wednesday December 13 2017
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Awards for local heroes THREE FIRE fighters and a dedicated community volunteer have been honoured for their courageous and generous service at the annual Kiwibank Local Hero Awards. The four received their local hero medals at a special ceremony at Addington Raceway last week. Mayor Lianne Dalziel attended the ceremony to present the medals. They were among 33 recipients from across Canterbury. “This year’s recipients are selfless and dedicated people who have all had an impact on their community in unique ways,” Ms Dalziel said. “The positive difference they have made to the lives of others cannot be overstated.” •Mark Buckley (Lyttelton) Mark Buckley is the chief fire officer at the Lyttelton Volunteer Fire Brigade, which he has given service to for more than 30 years, as well as running his own transport business. He has been the glue that has kept the brigade together and ensured it has kept running smoothly, in spite of a recent tough few years. “We had a couple of ship fires after the quakes, then an officer killed on the wharf and this year the Port Hills fires. And we’ve had our fair share of call outs this year – a couple of fatalities, calls you don’t ever want to get.” Mr Buckley said he has gained some interesting insight recently from talking to a victim support counsellor. “He said, you do realise each time you go to a fatality it’s another couple of blows with an axe. It made me think about the impact on the guys, especially the older ones who tend to be more staunch. These are guys that stand tall – you do a debrief but they don’t talk much. And after 15-20 years service, you might have attended 40-50 fatalities, it starts to add up. I’m more wary now; people are vulnerable.” After providing vital support to the community during the earthquakes, and coordinating revolving crews throughout the Port Hills fire, Mr Buckley reckons he’s still got two or three years left in him. “Though when you get a 3am call, and you’ve got work at 7am, you sometimes think – ‘where’s that passion now.” •Mark Thomson (Akaroa) Mark Thomson joined the Akaroa Volunteer Fire
MEDALS: Mark Buckley, Mark Thomson, Donald Cameron and Carolyn Tapley each received Kiwibank Local Hero Awards. PHOTOS: AARON CAMPBELL
Brigade at the age of 16, and has now given more than 40 years of service. He is currently the chief fire officer. With his level head and calm, straight-forward nature, Mr Thomson’s presence in an emergency brings a sense of calm to a stressful time. He has exceptional leadership skills and is well respected. Mr Thomson is a role model not only for the volunteer fire fighters he has trained and worked alongside, but for Banks Peninsula Rugby Club, touch rugby, basketball and cricket players. He also helps with many school activities including organising and running camps and sports tournaments. •Donald Cameron (Somerfield) Donald Cameron has given more than 50 years of service to his community as chief fire officer of the Diamond Harbour Volunteer Fire Brigade. Among his fire officer work, Mr Cameron was cofounder of the Diamond Harbour Rugby Club in 1969, a member of St John, a former chairman of the Diamond Harbour Primary School, a current member of Lyttelton Rotary, coordinator and helper with the Sea Scouts as well as numerous other community projects. He encourages others to follow in his footsteps to help better the community.
INFERNO: Lyttelton Fire Brigade chief fire officer Mark Buckley was involved in co-ordinating revolving crews throughout the Port Hills fire.
•Carolyn Tapley (Lyttelton) Carolyn Tapley supports her community in a multitude of ways. She is a victim support counsellor for Lifeline, and a Coastguard volunteer, achieving the status
of a senior operational crew for Coastguard Canterbury (based in Lyttelton.) Ms Tapley is also on the Naval Point Marine and Rescue Centre Trust, which is currently fundraising to build a community facility in Lyttelton.
She is chairwoman of the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation and is actively involved in the relief of suffering in the Dehra Dun area in North India, which has been a passion of hers for many years.
Bay Harbour News 13-12-17