Flowers, gifts for decades of service


Russell Anstiss was diagnosed with a hearing impairment 30 years ago.

He began thinking about how he could use his experience to help others.

That came through the Ashburton Hearing Association – and now his service to that organisation has been recognised with a special honour.

And the association has presented the Advance Ashburton Community Foundation with $53,000 in a named trust. Earnings from that money will go to support hearing work in the district. It was accepted by Mary Ross, on behalf of the foundation.

Mr Anstiss became president of the Ashburton Hearing Association 20 years ago.

He stood down last week, to thanks and flowers and gifts from the association.

He believes those with a hearing problem should never be marginalised and he set about building on the support which the association had been providing to members.

The citation for his award said that throughout his tenure, he encouraged social activities but also recognised the need for the branch to have the financial and physical resources to enable the branch to help.

With that in mind, Mr Anstiss convinced the branch to become a partner, along with other community groups, in a new building – the Seniors Centre – which opened in 2001.

The building has provided a secure purpose-designed home for the branch.

The citation said the investment had saved rental expenditure and provided an income stream.

The Seniors Centre was a boon to the hearing association and other groups.

Because the branch decided to become a partner in the initiative, it was now in a position to set up a named trust with Advance Ashburton to provide support in perpetuity for those with hearing impairment in the district.

Aine Whiting, the new president, said Mr Anstiss was renowned for his enthusiasm and dedication he brought to many community groups.

He had given countless hours to the hearing association but never sought recompense.

He has already been awarded life membership, but because of his involvement in so many voluntary and commercial organisations, he was widely respected.

The committee of the association recommended unanimously that the board grant a special award in recognition of his “exceptional, meritorious and lengthy service” as president of the Ashburton branch.

Mr Anstiss said that in a chat with former mayor Geoff Geering he found out planning for the Seniors Centre had stalled as organisers were $75,000 short.

Mr Anstiss said: “Can you show me your plans and if you can provide the same space to the hearing association as it is utilising in the Resource Centre, we could be interested.”

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