Cycling Southland rode home with the Supreme Award at the 2013 TrustPower Invercargill Southland Community Awards last night - (you can read the award citation at the bottom of this article).
Fifty-one nominations were received for this year's awards, which recognise the work voluntary organisations perform in the community, with winners announced at the Civic Theatre last night.
TrustPower community relations representative Jess Somerville said Cycling Southland took out top the honours because its volunteer team had worked hard to sustain a successful profile on the national and international stage. The organisation received $1500 prizemoney and would represent the district at the national community awards, to be held in Southland next year, she said.
Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno and Invercargill Deputy Mayor Darren Ludlow spoke at the awards ceremony about the value of volunteers in the community.
"[Volunteering is] what makes Southland special and I believe that's what makes New Zealand special - we still have these values of caring," Ms Cardno said.
Southland Girls' High School pupil Lydia Ward won the TrustPower Invercargill Southland Community Youth Spirit award for her services to sports coaching and mentoring, as well as academic and cultural achievement.
TrustPower community relations manager Graeme Purches said the amount of time Lydia devoted to coaching and mentoring was "quite staggering".
Lydia was rewarded with $250 prizemoney, as well as $250 for charity, which she chose to donate to Ronald McDonald House.
Supreme Winner - Cycling Southland
Heritage and Environment - commendation: Glengarry Action Group, runner-up: Southland Fire Service Museum Society, winner: Bluff Hill/Motupohue Environment Trust
Health and Wellbeing - commendation: Bellyful Invercargill, commendation: Nightcaps Medical Trust, runner-up: St John Invercargill, winner: Bluff Coastguard
Arts and Culture - joint runners-up: Invercargill Rock'n'Roll and Southland Competitions Society, winner: Southern Districts Art Trust
Sport and Leisure - runner-up: Foveaux Pearls Leisure Marching Team, winner: Ryal Bush Community Centre Committee
Eduction and Child/Youth Development - runner up: Te Ara O Kiwa Sea Scouts, winner: Riverton Rugby Club
Youth Spirit - finalists: Gavin Reid, Central Southland College, Kelsi Lawson, James Hargest College, Samuel Gran, Southland Boys' High School, Benjamin Simpson, Verdon College, runner up: Holly Kemper, Fiordland College, winner: Lydia Ward, Southland Girls' High School.
SUPREME - Award Citation
As we have heard it has been a busy year in the Invercargill and Southland region with volunteers enriching the lives of thousands.
But the Supreme Winner of the 2013 TrustPower Invercargill Southland Community Awards goes to a group who have had an incredibly busy 12 months – Cycling Southland.
Cycling in Southland has a long and colourful history stemming from the late 1880's. Since that time they have gone from grass tracks around the show grounds, to a sealed surface at Kew Park, to New Zealand’s first indoor cycling facility - the phenomenal Invercargill Velodrome.
Cycling Southland was formed in 1996 with a vision to provide quality opportunities for increased participation at all levels in cycling and encourage high quality events and competitions. With more than 800 riders and a network of more than 250 volunteers they have carved a very successful local, national and international profile.
Over the last 12 months this group have coordinated, overseen, managed and delivered 24 notable regional, national and international cycling events at both the world class Velodrome and on the road. The biggest of these events was the 2012 Junior Worlds Track Championships, which saw 154 riders from 24 countries compete in front of a near sell-out crowd.
This journey of securing, fundraising and hosting the Junior Worlds Track Championships began in 2006 and volunteers organised everything from event sponsorship and merchandising to immigration and team entries to equipment and staffing. They also covered the finer details such as medical resources and doping control to venue preparation and set up.
In fact the organising committee, along with the support of nearly 200 other volunteers, paid so much attention to detail and delivered such a fantastic event that the International Cycling Federation declared it the best-ever run event in the history of Junior Worlds.
Adding to this group’s busy calendar was a myriad of other events including the Tour of Southland!
Cycling has always been a popular sport across the southland district both on the road and the track and these championships have placed Invercargill and Cycling Southland on the world cycling map and provided a great launching pad for the venue and the region into the future. But it’s the volunteers who turn up week after week to assist with club racing or coaching on the velodrome or stand on a wind-swept corner with high-vis vest and flag in hand who put Cycling southland in a position to put up their hands for events like this. If it wasn’t for the hundreds of hours given so freely by their willing volunteers Cycling Southland wouldn’t be able to put on as many local, national and international events it does. A huge congratulations to this team for providing such a nurturing and supportive environment to so many cyclists in the southland region and we can’t wait for you to share their journey at the 2013 TrustPower National Community Awards.
- © Fairfax NZ News