By Mick Jensen
Tinwald Cycling Club stalwart Don Kirdy has mentored cyclists, looked after the velodrome, mown lawns and painted tracks.
Now he has been recognised for his services to cycling with a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) in the New Year’s Honours List.
Mr Kirdy has been involved with the club for more than four decades and has been a loyal supporter, volunteering in a number of roles.
The 81-year-old was a useful amateur rider in his younger days and enjoyed regular races at the Tinwald club after shifting to Ashburton from Christchurch.
For much of the last 40 years he had been involved with local junior cycling, mentored cyclists, maintained the velodrome, mown lawns, painted the track and trails and helped with safety monitoring.
Mr Kirdy said he and fellow club members had helped build up junior numbers after a dip a number of years ago.
He had offered advice on cycling skills, built bikes for young enthusiasts and encouraged juniors on their cycling journeys.
“My involvement with the club has always been very satisfying. I’ve made some good friends along the way and cycling has been a big part of my life.”
Over the years the likes of Hayden Roulston, Lauren Ellis, Jason Christie, Daniel Rafferty and Alex Hooper have emerged from the junior ranks of the Tinwald Cycling Club.
Mr Kirdy said he had proudly monitored the progress of those cyclists and others.
He could still remember a young Daniel Rafferty winning national titles, he said.
Mr Kirdy said he was surprised to have been put forward for the QSM, but was happy to receive it.
He was accepting it on behalf of fellow cycling club enthusiasts, who had all lent a hand over the years.
“It’s nice to be recognised, but a number of others, some of whom are no longer around, have put in plenty of volunteer hours at the club.
“My cycling memories are strong and will live on with me.”
Mr Kirdy is still involved with the local social wheelers, a group of riders of all ages, who race on Saturday afternoons in winter and Wednesday nights in summer.
The Governor-General will hold investiture ceremonies for all New Year’s Honours in Auckland and Wellington in May.