Award for two decades of com­mu­nity ser­vice

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By TERESA HAT­TAN

Graeme Guil­ford says be­ing awarded a Paul Har­ris Fel­low was a pretty big deal, but it wasn’t the rea­son he gets in­volved in the com­mu­nity.

‘‘ It is some­thing that hap­pens after years of do­ing things. It is nice to be part of a group that helps other peo­ple,’’ the Ro­tar­ian said.

‘‘There was a quote in a book I read the other day. Ralph Waldo Emer­son said ‘it is one of the beau­ti­ful com­pen­sa­tions in this life that no one can sin­cerely try to help another with­out help­ing him­self’, which is a pretty cool way of look­ing at it and it’s pretty much how it works.

‘‘If you help peo­ple you ac­tu­ally feel good and you’re prob­a­bly a bet­ter per­son, you’re a win­ner as well.’’

Guil­ford has been in­volved in a num­ber of as­pects of Mata­mata life, both with Ro­tary and in the wider com­mu­nity.

How­ever, through Ro­tary he has been in­volved in over­seas projects. He and his wife Kate help spon­sor a school in Africa.

Be­ing the hum­ble man he is, Guil­ford says he’s able to do ‘‘a lit­tle bit’’.

‘‘You’re not go­ing to change the world but you might help one or two peo­ple quite a bit and that kind of changes their world.

‘‘One per­son can’t change the world, but the world needs peo­ple to do that sort of thing.’’

Guil­ford has been a mem­ber of Ro­tary for around 18 years, after mov­ing to Mata­mata more than two decades ago.

At that stage of his life, get­ting in­volved was im­por­tant to the business owner. ‘‘It’s a small town and a lot of peo­ple have lived here most of their lives. They went to school with each other, so they’ve got a group of friends they’ve had for 50 years.

‘‘When you move in, they’ve al­ready got a so­cial life. So if you want to move into their com­mu­nity you’ve got to go to them, rather than sit at home and think ‘they’re a bit of a clicky bunch’.’’

Guil­ford said it was im­por­tant to join groups and clubs.

He joined a num­ber of groups, in­clud­ing the squash club, the rugby club, the golf club and Ro­tary. ‘‘I’ve al­ways liked to do that.

‘‘ I’ve al­ways been a shy coun­try boy. But I do like to be part of the com­mu­nity and to get on com­mit­tees and try and be a part of things.’’

Be­ing a small town man was what it was all about though, he said. ‘‘ You go down the street and you know just about every­body.’’

To be recog­nised by his peers at Ro­tary sur­prised Guil­ford.

‘‘It was a bit of a sur­prise, I must ad­mit. It is nice to be recog­nised, but it’s just an add-on.’’

He said he was proud of the award, which was pre­sented at a Ro­tary meet­ing ear­lier this month.

Photo: TERESA HAT­TAN

AC­KNOWL­EDGED: Graeme Guil­ford has been recog­nised by Ro­tary Mata­mata with a Paul Har­ris Fel­low.

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