Hanging up helmet after 22 years

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Twenty-two years of service logged by Arne Cleland was celebrated along with several other achievements at the Pukerau Volunteer Fire Brigade on Saturday.

Mr Cleland is leaving the brigade, as he is moving to Wanaka with wife Jenny. He also served as secretary for 15 years.

The Clelands spent more than 40 years in Pukerau and owned the Pukerau Nursery for 38 years.

“We will miss the community,” he said.

“We brought up our girls here [and they] enjoyed the advantages of living in the country but also being close to places like Gore.”

Despite selling the nursery, Mr Cleland said he had only semi-retired.

Night to celebrate . . . Pukerau Volunteer Fire Brigade members at the service awards (from left) Arne Cleland, G. Soper, M. Turnbull, J. Byars, D. Norton, G. King, D. Hertog, D. Harvey and B. Williams.

“I am still going to be involved as a landscape consultant and farm consulting; I just won’t be growing plants commercially.”

Mr Cleland has no plans to join the Wanaka Volunteer Fire Brigade.

However, he enjoyed his 22 years in the Pukerau brigade.

“It’s a good group of people who look out for each other,” he said.

Pukerau fire chief Geoff Soper said Mr Cleland would be missed by the brigade.

“In the last couple of years, 88% to 90% of call-ups he would be there. He is a good and reliable fireman,” Mr Soper said.

Along with celebrating his service, Mr Cleland received his two-year silver bar for years’ service.

Others receiving the award were Graeme King, Julie Byars and Martin Turnbull.

Mr Soper and Dayle Norton received gold bars for 29 and 35 years’ service.