Dedication and loyalty are just some of the attributes being recognised at the Omakau Squash Club.

It is those key facets, among others, that have earned Paulette Duncan and Andrea Hamilton life memberships, which they recently received.

As a beginner, Mrs Duncan was encouraged to play F grade in Omakau’s top club team.

She later competed at F grade nationals in Whanganui in 2007, where her team finished third.

That marked the start of her national squash career and she is now a division 1 player.

Her skill was recognised in 2008 and 2015 when she won the Minehan trophy for the most improved player.

In 2012, 2014 and 2018, Mrs Duncan won the D&T Small trophy for player of the year, recognising “all the hard work she has put into the smooth running of the Omakau Squash Club”, fellow club life member David Small said.

Aside from playing the sport, Mrs Duncan has taken on a range of other roles, including treasurer and coach of young children.

She has also organised junior squash tournaments in Omakau on several occasions.

Being named a life member was unexpected, she said.

“I was very surprised but very proud to accept my life membership award – we are a small country club that brings the Manuherikia and Ida Valleys together, both socially and competitively. I especially enjoy introducing new members to the game.”

Mrs Hamilton has also celebrated success over the years, including club champion from 2002 to 2018.

Mr Small described that success as “fantastic”, but went on to say the reason she deserved a life membership was for her leadership within the club.

Mrs Hamilton was first named club captain in 2004 and later went on to become club president in 2010. She has had the role of president or secretary each year, ever since.

“Andrea is a natural leader of people and when taking on a responsibility within an organisation gives it 100%,” Mr Small said.

Mrs Hamilton, who has played in the Central Otago Squash championships where she won the woman’s open championship, has been involved in a range of projects, including the management of graded Omakau teams, while competing at national events.

Outside the club, Mrs Hamilton has also managed the Central Otago triangular team.

“Her organisation and attention to detail makes these events so enjoyable for everyone involved,” Mr Small said.

Mrs Hamilton was honoured to receive the award, but said she had received far more from the club than she had ever given it.

Among that was the friendships she had made.

“It’s a fantastic little club to be a part of.”

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