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Selfless service rewarded

Civic Award winner Christine Brewster with nominator Barbara Roydhouse. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO


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A Masterton District Council Civic Award winner has celebrated not only her recognition for years of public service and generosity with her time, but also a long-standing close friendship.

Award winner Christine Brewster was nominated by both close friend and longtime colleague Barbara Roydhouse and Masterton Trust Lands Trust [MTLT] chairwoman Leanne Southey, for the regional accolade.

“For over 50 years Christine has been giving to the people of Masterton. Her outstanding voluntary commitment in all facets of her life has been as a supreme contributor through leadership, dedication, passion and compassion for others,” they said in their nomination.

“Through her 50 years in the hairdressing industry, she has worked beyond the call of duty.

“It is widely acknowledged that Christine really cares about people, goes out of her way to help the elderly and less fortunate and makes a significant contribution in the publicly elected arena and service organisations.”

Brewster has been involved with the MTLT since 2004, initially on the property/finance committee, then as chairwoman of the grants committee for eight years, then three years as chairwoman of the education committee and more recently as deputy chairwoman of the trust itself.

In addition to the list above, Brewster has been involved in the Rotary association, worked as a JP, been involved in schools and, through her hairdressing business, helped many find their feet through apprenticeships.

The range of people whose lives she has touched in a positive way is shown by some of the comments made in support of her nomination.

Joan O’Neill is a 98-year-old client of Brewster.

“Christine has been my hairdresser for over 50 years and has always been there for me,” she said.

“She was very good to me during lockdown, bringing me soup every week and generally checking that I was okay.”

Neighbour Diane Wilton spoke about Brewster’s generous nature.

“Christine has been absolutely wonderful to me and was very caring to my late husband Ken as well.

“As a neighbour, when I broke my ankle, she was there every morning and every evening to check I was okay.

“She is the most caring person I have ever met and is there in a heartbeat if you need her.

“She regularly brought me soup during lockdown.”

Marion Lawson praised Brewster’s commitment to the differently-abled.

“Christine has been very kind and tolerant to many special needs people. Christine did one person’s hair in elaborate styles every morning for years, often before work and even coming in on her days off to do it.

“She is known to go to people’s homes to do their hair if they can’t get into the salon,” Lawson said.

Roydhouse, who has been friends with Brewster for many years, said the nomination was well overdue.

“I suddenly thought this year, why haven’t I done this before?

“Christine is so worthy of a Civic Award and I need to get on and do it.”

“When I started asking people, I found out so much more that I didn’t know myself.

“It was so lovely doing it,” she said.

Winning came out of the blue for Brewster, and she confessed a few tears were shed.

“I didn’t know anything about it until they rang from the council to tell me. It was a surprise. It’s not something you think about,” she said.

“I was a bit blown away really. I got a bit emotional.”

“She’s a very gentle, loving person,” Roydhouse said.

Brewster and Roydhouse have been friends as well as colleagues for well over 16 years.

During lockdown, the two households formed a covid ‘bubble’.

“When we got to level three, we combined, which was really nice,” Brewster said.

“We saw a lot of each other.”

“We saw the Anzac dawn service together out on the drive,” she said.

Brewster was grateful to everyone who helped with her nomination.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone for their support. All the people in the community that supported Barbara, who put a huge amount of work into it. I would also like to thank Leanne.

“I just do what I do, I don’t think about it,” she said.

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