• Media release

29 May 2023

Graeme Appleby Community Service Award

Graeme Appleby’s huge contribution to his community has been recognised with a Community Service Award.

The long-serving Drummond volunteer was awarded the honour by Southland District Mayor Rob Scott at a function hosted by Southland District Council and the Wallace Takitimu Community Board on Friday 26 May.

Mr Appleby’s citation outlines a lengthy list of contributions he has made since moving to Southland from the Coromandel many years ago.

He has served more than 45 years with Land Search and Rescue New Zealand (LandSAR), attending numerous call-outs at short notice, as well as 15 years with the Drummond Volunteer Fire Brigade (now Fire and Emergency New Zealand). He has travelled with the New Zealand contingent to help fight Australian bush fires.

Mr Appleby’s citation applauds his “extremely generous” contribution to those around him and says he is a “wonderful asset to Southland and our community”.

For many years he has felled and split around 100m³ of unwanted trees for firewood, donating all proceeds to the Westpac Chopper Appeal.

He regularly rides in various cycling fundraising events, recently completing a ride from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Within his community Mr Appleby is well known and respected for offering assistance in times of need.

One example occurred when a large herd of cows belonging to another farmer escaped from their paddock. Mt Appleby and others helped with the roundup and return to the paddock, ensuring motorists and the stock were kept safe.

He donated his time and the use of his tractor to cart concrete for the Isla Bank war memorial restoration project, which he worked on alongside the late Ann Robbie QSM. Afterwards he levelled the tracks made in the Calcium Cemetery grounds and sealed the memorial to complete the project. He also offered to assist in the search for the historic World War I McKenzie memorial on Bluff Hill.

Mr Appleby’s wife Jan and family were on hand to watch him receive his award.

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