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Retirement of Three Founding Members Honoured

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

By: Ian McArthur, Alexandra Clyde Neighbourhood Support Chairperson

A function was recently held to mark the retirement of three founding members of the Alexandra Clyde Neighbourhood Support Group - Ruth McNamara, Sheryll Hanning, and Joy Watson.

A Profile of Their Work...

In 2012, a member of the Police approached Ruth McNamara and Joy Watson to see if there could be a Neighbourhood Support group formed. A public meeting was held and approximately 20 members first formed the group and started looking into becoming an Incorporate Society and a Charitable Trust. This process took just on two years to complete.

Ruth’s daughter in law was at the time a member of the Dunedin Neighbourhood Support group, and with her help the group was set on the right track in setting up the Street Contacts database.

Ruth formed a committee from members of the first public meeting, which included Sheryll Hanning and Joy Watson. Several Street Contacts joined and are still with the group today. Lex Coutts moved to Alexandra after the Christchurch earthquakes and became a Trustee/Committee member. Under Ruth’s Leadership the Committee has remained strong and consistent.

To financially support Alexandra Clyde Neighbourhood Support, Ruth and the Committee started fundraising by doing sausage sizzles, applying to the Central Lakes Trust, applying for the Contestable Funding provided by National Office, and arranging the ingredients and making of thousands of cheese rolls each year. The work involved here is no small task.

Ruth was very thankful to Sheryll for the manner she took the minutes at every committee meeting and produced reliable and accurate minutes.

Ruth, along with members of the Committee arranged with the Police and Emergency Management to hold a public display in Pioneer Park of all the services that would be required in an Emergency situation in the community. This was a mammoth project. Fire & Emergency, Ambulance, Red Cross, Police, CB Radio, food outlets, Victim Support, an earthquake simulator trailer and many more organisations were represented. This was very successful and appreciated by the officers in charge of Civil Defence at the time.

From the left are Sheryll, Ian, Ruth and Joy.

Ruth, Joy and Sheryll have been present at the Central Otago and Roxburgh A & P Show and have won an award for the best informative tent present. Ruth has organised Christmas functions and the mid-year training get togethers each year. Ruth also invites the Otago Regional representatives to meet the street contacts each year and hosts the regional Neighbourhood Support members at her home.

The contributions of these women over the years have been truly enormous and we cannot thank them enough as they enter a well-deserved retirement.

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