QSM for walking track champ
Marlborough Sounds man Rod Eatwell, who dedicated three decades to his beloved Queen Charlotte Track before dying in a car crash last week, has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal.
Eatwell, 90, was due to receive the award in the New Year Honours List, however the governor-general enacted it early after he died in a State Highway 1 collision, between Picton and Blenheim, last Tuesday.
Eatwell’s family received a letter from the honours office saying the medal had taken effect from November 27, the date of his death.
‘‘I have the privilege to advise the family and friends of Rod Eatwell that the award of the Queen’s Service Medal was approved by Her Majesty The Queen before his death, and was to have been announced in the New Year 2019 Honours List on 31 December 2018,’’ the letter said.
Eatwell’s son John Eatwell said the award was enacted early so it could be announced at the funeral, which was held on Tuesday at the Nativity Church in Blenheim.
Eatwell was considered the grandfather of the Kenepuru Walkway that later became part of the Queen Charlotte Track.
He had accepted the award about a month before his death, John said. ‘‘He was very excited about it, he was very pleased.
‘‘We’re very pleased for him that he knew about it and had recognition for all his efforts.
‘‘As a family, we’re always proud of all the things he did, but to get external recognition is also fantastic.’’
Eulogies were given by family members and former MP Linda Scott on behalf of the Queen Charlotte Track community.
Eatwell received the award for his services to the community and outdoor recreation and his more than 40 years involvement in the Marlborough community.