Community service was celebrated last week as the Roxburgh Entertainment Centre played host to the 2019 Central Otago Awards.
The event highlighted good people who went above and beyond, Central Otago District Council chief executive Sanchia Jacobs said.
Winning the youth category was Abby Golden (17), of Alexandra.
As well as many hours volunteering at St John Youth and Ranui rest-home, Miss Golden was on the Dunstan High School student council, took part in the 40 Hour Famine and spread positive messages with groups including Sticks ‘n Stones and Students Against Drink Driving.
The judges said her leadership at Dunstan High School and in the local community showed she had a genuine commitment to making a difference in other people’s lives.
Finlay Russel (17), of Clyde, received a highly commended award in the youth category, for her outstanding services to community, including as the youngest firefighter at the Clyde Volunteer Fire Brigade.
Community service award recipients were Barry Becker, of Oturehua, Rose Jefcoate, of Alexandra, Brigette Paterson and Alex Gordon, both of Roxburgh.
With decades of work in the community, Mr Becker was “a true country bloke”, Ms Jacobs said.
His contributions included leading with the creation of a new water scheme for Oturehua.
Rose Jefcoate created “new and empowering experiences” for clients at Central Otago Living Options, including a training cafe, enabling people with learning disabilities to practise hospitality skills, leading to employment opportunities, Ms Jacobs said.
Brigette Paterson created new ideas and experiences for Teviot Valley, including the Cherry Chaos that was an enjoyable event and built stronger connections between seasonal workers and residents in the area.
As well as being a member of the St John Ambulance in Roxburgh since 1963, Alex Gordon had made many contributions to his community over many years, including the development and operation of the Teviot Valley Rest Home, and as a member of the Roxburgh Pioneer Energy Brass Band, Ms Jacobs said.
Viticulturalist Annabel Bulk, of Bannockburn was presented with the young professional award.
As well as being a “rising star” in the wine industry, working for Felton Road Winery, Annabel shone with her personal skills as a certified marriage celebrant, Ms Jacobs said.
Winning the business excellence award was Misha’s Vineyard in Bendigo. Administration manager Jill Massey accepted the award on behalf of owners Misha and Andy Wilkinson.
“Meticulous planning, excellent strategy, creative marketing and quality partnership” were the “backbone of their success”, Ms Jacobs said.
Entertaining the audience last week was Central Otago singer Gilly Darby, performing one of her songs written about the region Blow me home as well as a special request, Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen.
The guest speaker was Dunedin animation and technology entrepreneur Ian Taylor, who inspired the audience with stories from his 30 years at the cutting edge of creativity, with a message of encouragement for people living in Central Otago – “there is no reason you cannot take on the world from wherever you are”.