Book fes­ti­val crew takes top hon­ours

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HULBURT

Adding a lit­tle cul­ture to the Marl­bor­ough cal­en­dar has seen the team be­hind the Marl­bor­ough Book Fes­ti­val hon­oured for their work.

Or­gan­is­ers of the pop­u­lar lit­er­ary event were re­vealed as supreme win­ners in the re­gion’s big­gest an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of vol­un­teers at the Trust­power Com­mu­nity Awards.

The an­nual awards pay trib­ute to vol­un­teers who work to help ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity.

Vol­un­tary groups from around the re­gion gath­ered at the ASB The­atre Marl­bor­ough with friends and fam­ily to hear the results on Monday night.

Trust­power com­mu­nity re­la­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ab­bie Siely says the award ac­knowl­edges the Marl­bor­ough Book Fes­ti­val’s rapid rise to promi­nence.

‘‘The Marl­bor­ough Read­ers and Writ­ers Char­i­ta­ble Trust be­gan in 2014 when a cou­ple of friends saw a gap in the re­gion’s cul­tural cal­en­dar.

‘‘They noted that many lo­cals were ei­ther trav­el­ling away for read­ers and writ­ers fes­ti­vals, or sim­ply not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing them.

‘‘There was space in the na­tional fes­ti­val sched­ule for a win­ter event that would bring Marl­bor­ough to life in the colder months and add to the re­gion’s cul­tural di­ver­sity,’’ she says.

The fes­ti­val has grown from six au­thors at three venues in 2014 to 15 au­thors and jour­nal­ists at six venues in 2017 with 1350 tick­ets sold.

‘‘It’s the vi­sion, ini­tia­tive and de­ter­mi­na­tion of these peo­ple that has made the Marl­bor­ough Book Fes­ti­val a high­light on the cal­en­dars of book lovers and au­thors alike,’’ says Ab­bie.

The fes­ti­val beat 13 other fi­nal­ists to take out the supreme award, while four young­sters bat­tled it out for the Youth Spirit Award.

Rai Val­ley teenager Demi Blank­endaal won for her com­mit­ment to the town­ship, mark­ing the third year in a row a Rai Val­ley Area School stu­dent has won the award.

Demi says be­ing at a smaller school helps her achieve more than she might do at a larger one.

Her win sees her fol­low in the foot­steps of pre­vi­ous year 13 stu­dents Anja Dunlop and Lisa San­drey, who won in 2016 and 2015 re­spec­tively.

Marl­bor­ough Read­ers and Writ­ers Char­i­ta­ble Trust

‘‘In a small school you get the help you need, whereas larger schools might strug­gle,’’ Demi says.

Demi plans to study agri­cul­ture at the Nel­son Marl­bor­ough Institute of Tech­nol­ogy, in Nel­son, next year and will use part of her $500 prize to buy a car.

She also won $250 to put to­wards a char­ity of her choice and chose the Have­lock Lions for

all their help and in­put at the school.

For win­ning the supreme award, the Marl­bor­ough Read­ers and Writ­ers Trust re­ceives a framed cer­tifi­cate, a tro­phy, and $1500 prize money.

The group will go on to rep­re­sent Marl­bor­ough at the 2017 Trust­power Na­tional Com­mu­nity Awards, which take place in Queen­stown next April.

PHOTO: JIM TANNOCK

Marl­bor­ough Book Fes­ti­val com­mit­tee mem­bers, from left, Sharon Hill, So­nia O’Re­gan, Kat Pick­ford, Lor­raine Car­ryer, Char­lotte Pat­ter­son and So­phie Preece (ab­sent: Karen Wal­she) are Supreme Win­ners at the Trust­power Com­mu­nity Awards.

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