Volunteers honoured

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In for the long haul...Mataura couple Daryl and Marita Soper who have volun teered many hours together in the commun ity groups in 46 years they have been married and were recognised with a Gore District Mayoral Civic Award on Friday night. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

Teamwork is a key ingredient in the many hours Daryl and Marita Soper have clocked up as volunteers in the community.

The Mataura couple were recognised for their 46-year contribution at the Gore District Community Awards on Friday night, receiving the district’s Mayoral Civic Award.

Mrs Soper said they did most of their volunteering work together.

“Daryl and I work together very well,” she said.

“One of us complements the other.

“If I was involved, he was always there to help when I needed.”

“I come up with the ideas and Marita does them,” Mr Soper said.

It also meant neither was left home alone while the other was out serving.

“If we didn’t work together and do things together, we would have been going two different ways -doesn’t make for a good marriage,” she said.

Teamwork had also been important at the weekends when their children were at home.

Each child had jobs to do to ensure household chores were completed while other members of the family were taken to sport.

“On a Saturday morning here it was run like a military camp.”

Apart from the Mataura Scouts, which Mr Soper started helping with in 1974 just after they were married, most of the groups they were involved in revolved around the activities in which their children took part.

In the process the couple had made many friends, which had led them to join more groups.

“You get to know people in one group, in one organisation, and they ask you to do something in another organisation.”

It was very important people volunteered their time, they said.

“Where would communities be if people didn’t do something for them,” Mrs Soper asked.

Receiving the award had been “overwhelming”, she said.

“I just wanted to crawl under the table.

“That’s not me wanting recognition.

“I’m just happy to do it without making a fuss.”

Her legs were “trembling at 90 miles an hour”.

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks read a citation listing the various groups the couple had been involved in including the Mataura Volunteer Fire Brigade, Mataura Scouts, Mataura Playcentre and Ice Sport Southland.

The couple were among the select group of people who epitomised the ethos of the Gore district community, Mr Hicks said.

“Ordinary people who not only do extraordinary things, but are people who provide the glue required for communities such as this one to function well above the ordinary.”