The “little pat on the back” Edendale’s John Ranstead received on Saturday might well motivate him to take care of the community pool for another 20 years.
On Saturday, Mr Ranstead was presented with a Southland District Council Community Service Award for many activities, including being the caretaker of the Edendale Community Pool.
Mr Ranstead said he was delighted to receive the award.
“A little pat on the back makes it all worthwhile,” Mr Ranstead said.
“This little award will keep me going for another 20 years.”
The position was voluntary.
“If I got paid for doing this, it would be a lot of money.”
Five days a week, for about half the year, he arrived at the pool at 6am, checked the levels of chemicals in the water and took the cover off the pool, Mr Ranstead said.
“It takes me about half an hour and then I get in and have a swim.
“I’m doing a community job but I am also keeping fit.
“Otherwise I would be even fatter and more unfit than I already am.”
Employed as a family worker at the Mataura Presbyterian Church, it was his Christian faith that motivated him to serve.
“It’s more blessed to give than receive.”
Nowadays, he was very community minded, which was quite unlike he was growing up in the South Auckland town of Clevedon.
“Before that I was a black sheep of the community back in the pre-Christian days.
“In some ways you could say I am making up for my naughty days.”
Edendale Community Pool Society secretary-treasurer Jenny Coyle said Mr Ranstead was one of two people on the pool committee when she joined in about 2003.
“He’s just been a stalwart for the pool society,” Mrs Coyle said.
Mr Ranstead used to vacuum the pool in the days before having an automatic pool vacuum cleaner.
“He used to get in and push the vacuum around while he was swimming.”
Mr Ranstead was always to help if he could.
“He’s just there 100% if you need anything.
“He’s got his fingers in so many pies – he’s such a community-minded person.”
Southland district councillor Paul Duffy said Mr Ranstead had contributed in many different areas of the community, not just at the Edendale community pool.
“It was pleasing to be able to recognise the years of service John has given to the community, both in Edendale and surrounding districts,” Mr Duffy said.
Formerly the Edendale Presbyterian minister, Mr Ranstead officiated at funerals and as padre at Anzac services each year in Edendale, Woodlands and Seaward Downs.
“He continues to show a great level of pastoral care and compassion for the whole community.”