Com­mu­nity pas­sion reaps a royal award

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By ADEN MILES

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.’’

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