Spe­cial award for a spe­cial lady

Marlborough Midweek - - FRONT PAGE - CHLOE RANFORD

A self­less de­vo­tion to oth­ers has seen a Marl­bor­ough woman hon­oured for her con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­nity.

Jean Wil­son from Blen­heim was of­fi­cially recog­nised for her out­stand­ing work on be­half of the vul­ner­a­ble and the el­derly in the re­gion.

The kind-hearted pen­sioner was pre­sented with a civic hon­our award last week from Marl­bor­ough mayor John Leggett. And while these hon­ours are nor­mally awarded just once each term, Wil­son was deemed a spe­cial case af­ter re­cently re­tir­ing from her public roles.

Five awards were made in 2017, but Leggett said he could not let Wil­son’s re­mark­able record of ser­vice pass un­recog­nised.

He was joined by coun­cil­lor Jenny An­drews, a close friend of Wil­son’s, to present the award.

Leggett de­scribed her as a ‘‘foot sol­dier of com­mu­nity and democ­racy’’.

‘‘Jean is the per­fect il­lus­tra­tion of the po­ten­tial that per­sists within our re­tired pop­u­la­tion and a huge re­course that could be bet­ter used in our com­mu­nity,’’ Leggett says.

Leggett added Marl­bor­ough’s older res­i­dents had ‘‘good rea­son’’ to be grate­ful to Wil­son. He says she worked in their best in­ter­ests through her roles at Grey Power and the Older Per- son’s Fo­rum.

‘‘She’s the best ex­am­ple I know of how to do re­tire­ment well, how to stay en­gaged and con­nected us­ing the skills built up over a life­time to con­tinue to con­trib­ute,’’ he says.

Marl­bor­ough’s Civic Hon­ours are drawn from seven cat­e­gories: re­cre­ation, youth ac­tiv­i­ties, so­cial wel­fare, re­li­gious af­fairs, ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices, cul­tural af­fairs and com­mu­nity af­fairs.

Among Wil­son’s no­table achieve­ments in­clude help­ing to es­tab­lish a health shut­tle to Nel­son Hos­pi­tal from Blen­heim, the re­moval of lo­cal pre­scrip­tion charges for older peo­ple and the pro­mo­tion of warmer homes. She also dug into her own pock­ets to pay for bus shel­ters on the Blen­heim bus route.

Leggett says ‘‘not much gets past her radar’’.

‘‘Of course, Jean is far from or­di­nary. She’s made a very worth­while con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­nity in Marl­bor­ough but I think, above all, Jean is a good per­son.’’ he says.

An­drews said she would miss Wil­son and her wis­dom.

‘‘It is my wish that every com­mu­nity should have some­one just like you,’’ An­drews says.

PHOTO: SCOTT HAM­MOND/STUFF

Wil­son helped make the case for a health shut­tle to Nel­son Hos­pi­tal and the re­moval of lo­cal pre­scrip­tion charges.

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