Former Rotary president honoured

SHARE
An educator praised for his personal qualities and described as a ‘‘wonderful allrounder’’ has been awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Club of Alexandra.
Club member Mark Willyams, who is assistant principal at Dunstan High School, received the award at the club’s recent changeover dinner.
The citation for Mr Willyams said he had had an outstanding career and involvement in many areas.
He received his master of arts degree in geography from Canterbury University and after periods teaching elsewhere began as head of geography at Dunstan in 1996, becoming an assistant principal 10 years later.
He was president of the Rotary Club of Alexandra in 2010-11 and ‘‘most capably led the club with energy, efficiency and decorum’’, the Rotary citation said.
Among Mr Willyams’ many interests are basketball as a player then a coach, tramping and travelling overseas.
‘‘But above all [he is] a proud, devoted, loving husband and enormously dedicated and loyal father to his three outstanding girls and now a besotted granddad,’’ the Rotary citation said. ‘‘He can be summarised as a wonderful all-rounder.’’
Mr Willyams’ three daughters, Jenny Denley, Michelle Walker and Kate Calder, said in a message to the gathering the Paul Harris award celebrated a Rotary member’s ‘‘integrity, dedication and kind nature’’ and summed up Mr Willyams ‘‘perfectly’’.
‘‘You have set a wonderful example to us all with your dedication to the community. This award is a testament to your hard work and service to Rotary over the years.’’
Fellow Dunstan assistant principal Alan Hamilton said Mr Willyams gave his time selflessly and was ‘‘a real community man, a systems man, [has] attention to detail, is an excellent work colleague and an even better friend. His only failing is his unerring need to tell lame jokes’’.
Dunstan principal and fellow Rotary member Brent Russell said Mr Willyams’ contribution to Rotary was outstanding, including his term as president and his involvement with many community projects.
At Dunstan, Mr Willyams was noted for his experience in education and sport — he was known as ‘‘Mr Basketball’’ — and for his personal qualities, including in the area of pastoral care in his role as a house dean.
‘‘He is very empathetic and able to tread the line between guidance and discipline. He just has that lovely, lovely manner with people, not just with the pupils but also with the staff.’’
Mr Willyams said it was a ‘‘complete surprise’’ to be awarded the fellowship ‘‘and very humbling, as the club has many hard-working members who do some amazing projects in our community’’.
The Alexandra Rotary Club raised ‘‘tens of thousands of dollars’’ every year for the community and it was rewarding mixing with ‘‘a group of people who want the same thing — to improve our community and help people with their goals’’, Mr Willyams said.