A responsibility to help Otautau flourish

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PHOTO: LAURA SMITH

QSM Peter Ayson, Otautau. For services to the community

FOR Peter Ayson, receiving a Queen’s Service Medal this New Years was not a reward for him, but for the Otautau community as a whole.

Mr Ayson was born in the rural Southland town and spent many of his 85 years volunteering in a wide range of roles

“I may have been a bit one-eyed but I’ve always regarded Otautau to be a great place to live.”

After the men’s membership of the bowling club fell, he continued to undertake maintenance as green-keeper for the women’s branch which enabled the club to remain active; this role was something he still undertook.

While it wasn’t an ambition of his to volunteer in so many ways, he said when there was a space to fill on a committee or board, it was his responsibility as a citizen to do something.

Some of his roles in the community included his organisation of the IHC’s rural appeal collections from 1966 to 2006 and being chairman of the Otautau Scouts Committee from 1965 to 1969.

He served as president of the Otautau Lions Club, the Otautau Jaycees, and the Otautau Bowling Club. He was chairman of the Otautau St John Area Committee from 1988 to 2019, during which he led fundraising for the purchase of a health shuttle for Western Southland for those in need of transport to medical facilities. He was a member of the committee which oversaw the refurbishment of the Otautau town hall.

He became the secretary and treasurer of the Otautau Athletic Society Trust in 1986 and the Otautau Returned and Services Association in 2007, and both were roles he had not given up.

One of the things he was most proud of was the life memberships he had received, which included the Otautau RSA, Otautau Bowling Club, and Western Bowls Sub Centre.

Mr Ayson was also on the Southland District Allocations Committee for 12 years and was an Otautau Medical Trust member for 12 years.

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