Driver awarded for service to community

Life Education Trust Heartland Otago Southland educator Pip Tisdall (left) awards RTL driver Bruce Robertson with a Life Education Trust national community service award for his years of assistance carting the mobile classroom to various schools in the area. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN

Long-standing community volunteering was honoured at a presentation in Tapanui last week.
Life Education Trust Heartland Otago Southland held a public viewing of its mobile classroom last Tuesday.
The viewing was held in the evening to encourage locals and adults to look through the classroom and see what their children and the community was being taught.
A surprise presentation saw Heriot man and West Otago Transport owner Bruce Robertson awarded with a national honour through the trust.
Life Education Trust educator Pip Tisdall presented Mr Robertson with a national outstanding community service volunteer award for his efforts throughout the years carting the mobile classroom between schools in the area.
She said every year since she began teaching with Harold the Giraffe about 16 years ago, Mr Robertson had shown up or arranged for a driver to transport the mobile classroom from one school to the other.
‘‘The knowledge of me knowing the classroom gets safely from one place to another makes my job so much easier and I really appreciate the time you’ve put into helping us year after year.’’
‘‘You are so obliging, it’s a big job and we appreciate it so much.’’
‘‘This is why we’re honouring you with this award.’’
Mr Robertson was ‘‘surprised’’ by the honour and said his involvement was ‘‘just something we do.’’
‘‘The kids love going to see Harold,’’ he said.
‘‘My son had his own experience with Harold, learning social aspects and life lessons.
‘‘Introducing children to things that can be hard to talk about is an amazing skill to have.’’
Mr Robertson said the Life Education classroom did not just have an impact locally.
‘‘It’s amazing to see so many kids across the country who still see Harold as something so important in their lives years later.
‘‘It’s so powerful and has such an impact towards the kids.’’

RTL driver Bruce Robertson, Harold the Giraffe and Life Education Trust Heartland Otago Southland
educator Pip Tisdall. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN