Community passion reaps a royal award
Recognition from the Crown for a lifetime of community advocacy came as a ‘‘surprise’’ to South Waikato’s newest Queen Services Medal recipient, announced on Monday.
James Andrew Hassall’s dedication was recognised at the weekend, his name joining an impressive list of noted individuals from around the country.
Mr Hassall’s tireless efforts across the district, notably among Tokoroa organisations and volunteer groups, has spanned more than 50 years.
‘‘I feel surprised to have received this,’’ he said. ‘‘My feeling is that there are many people who contribute to the community, especially in Tokoroa.’’
He said Tokoroa had always been a community- spirited place. ‘‘ So it is an honour and a privileged to have received this award.’’
Mr Hassall, who launched law firm Hassall Gordon O’Connor and Newton in 1960, has been involved with an array of community groups.
Some of his community efforts include involvement with the Tokoroa YMCA and the Tokoroa Jaycees, being the first president of the Tokoroa City Lions, being a member of the Tokoroa Alpine Club since 1975, and being trustee on the South Waikato Achievement Trust.
He is a South Waikato Music Society Committee member and was also involved with Tokoroa Central and Putaruru High Schools.
While his official announcement indicated that he was of Putaruru, Mr Hassall said he regards himself being from Tokoroa. ‘‘I lived in Tokoroa before I started my law practice . . . My parents also lived in Putaruru before I was born which was a long time ago,’’ he said.
When asked if he knew who had nominated him, he replied: ‘‘ Some kind person who thought my name should be put forward.’’