Life honour for rural stalwart

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The long and outstanding service given by Winchmore woman Margaret Kelk has earned her a life membership with the Winchmore Branch of Rural Women New Zealand.

Margaret has been with the Winchmore branch for the past 30 years, joining the (then) Winchmore Women’s Division Federated Farmers (WDFF), after relocating to Mid Canterbury.

She has not only been president (1994-96) but has served a collective period of 20 years plus as treasurer; from 1989-99 under the name of WDFF and then with the name change to Royal Women New Zealand (RWNZ) from 1999-2019.

She was awarded the the surprise honour after presenting her 20th annual report to the branch members last month.

President Elsa Hydes made the presentation acknowledging the “contribution of a tremendous amount to WDFF and Rural Women over the years”, and fellow member Ngaire Brown presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

During Margaret’s presidency the branch ran school holiday productions of Cinderella and Peter Pan, which allowed children of the district and neighbouring areas to take part.

“These were very successful and rewarding programmes being well supported and certainly profiled and entertained our district.”

And for the past two decades, Margaret has ensured that the finances of the branch have been kept in order and adjusting to new criteria and forms from national office, and allowing some generous donations to organisations such as the Ashburton Trust Event Centre and the EA Networks Centre, as well as the Winchmore Community Hall Society Inc for upgrades they have undertaken over the years. The curtains hanging at the hall were made by Margaret.

Margaret was a member of the committee which, in December 2006, supported a fundraising project for Breast Cancer Research. A 2008 calendar (similar to the concept in the popular Calendar Girls Movie) was initiated with the calendars being sold for $15. Margaret was Miss November.

The proceeds saw $26,210.36 presented to Breast Cancer Research, which was overseen by Margaret.

“Margaret is a dab hand at providing a large number of graces for many functions, ideas and success with the Ashburton A&P Show trays, supporting many an event with the branch and providing a district Father Christmas.”