Club stalwart ‘humbled’ by receipt of life membership

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Being awarded a Gore Country Music Club life membership is the icing on the cake for Peter Cairns.

Mr Cairns, who arrived in Gore in 1982, is shifting to Christchurch at the end of the year to join his wife, Shona Hewlett, who has taken up the position of Bamford School principal in the suburb of Woolston.

The St James Theatre manager, who has been involved in a myriad of entertainment ventures, said he would retain his ties with the club.

He would return annually for the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards.

He described being awarded the life membership as “pretty exciting”.

“I felt very humbled and honoured; it was just a pretty cool thing to be acknowledged like that.”

Mr Cairns moved to Gore after studying at Lincoln University to take a job at the Ministry of Agriculture in 1982. He joined the country music club when he arrived.

He was the first “local” overall winner when he took the title in 1984 at the tender age of 24, he said.

He has served as president and vice-president, been in charge of the newsletter and on the governing board, judged, and played in backing band The Southerners.

Involvement in the club was a family affair with Ms Hewlett serving on the awards committee, his mother-in-law taking on ushering duties and children Taylor, Mason and Jade competing.

“It’s been very much a family thing right through.”

While he liked many genres of music, country music struck a special chord, he said.

“It’s just something I had an affinity with.”

He had enjoyed country music since he was a child and it was the genre his parents enjoyed, he said. Slim Dusty and John Grenell were frontrunners as musical influences.

Country music appealed because it covered such a wide range of music, from traditional to country rock, he said.