WHEN a parcel arrived at Gavin Evans’ house a couple of weeks ago, he was completely surprised.
An aficionado for Lego and blocks, his imagination ran wild with possibilities about what could be in the package.
But what was in it was something he never expected – a medal to acknowledge his nomination as Murihiku Southland Kiwibank Local Hero of the year.
“It was pretty shocking, actually. I never expected something like this. It is pretty humbling.”
A full-time delivery truck driver and trustee of Lego Users Group (LUG) South, Mr Evans combines two of his passions – blocks and his community.
“When we first started [in 2004] we had no idea the group would go to the lengths we’ve gone to. It was all about doing something that we could have fun with our hobby, at the same time helping our community.”
Among its many charitable endeavours, LUG South donates thousands of Lego bricks to children at Southland Hospital each year, ensuring sick children have access to toys.
The idea came after one of his own children was sick at the hospital and was given a toy.
“That has stuck with me. I thought it was such a kind gesture.”
The LUG South Charity founded by Mr Evans also provided food and petrol vouchers for families in need.
“I don’t know whether it makes a huge difference for all families but I know it makes a difference for a family. And this is worth more than you can imagine.”
Every year, he also co-ordinates the annual Southland Brick Show, which brings together 90 exhibitors from around the country and draws 6000 visitors.
It shows off the artistry and skills of the makers but also raises money for the charity’s ongoing work in the community.
Mr Evans said this award was not for him, but to recognise the efforts of LUG South which has more than 140 members in Southland.
“It is a win for the whole group.”
He would now be in the running for the 2022 Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Award Te Pou Toko o te Tau, which will be held on March 31 in Auckland.
Mr Evans was pleased to be part of the “A Team” but said just the nomination was already his prize.
“I am very humbled because looking at the people who have been winning these kinds of awards around the community, there is a very cool mix of people. To be part of that is unexpected – but I’m honoured, of course.”