Local hero shares award

by Anonymous Author

Burnham resident, Heather Wilson, remembers her reaction when she was told she was to be a recipient of the Kiwibank Local Hero Award for her community service.

“I was incredibly embarrassed. Like most volunteers, I didn’t go looking for recognition. I preferred to stay under the radar,” she said.

However, a week later Heather realised the award was recognising the role of ‘grass-roots’ volunteers who otherwise would receive little recognition.

“The award is for all of us who are doing what we can to make a difference in our own backyards, in our communities,” she said.

Heather is a military wife. Her husband, Chris, is in the New Zealand Army and Heather served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force. She said that being a military family can be a unique experience and sometimes an unsettling one. “That, I think, was initially my motivation in trying to help families integrate into the Burnham community.

“Being in the military can be very transient and isolating, especially when you are separated from your wider family support, and overseas deployment of partners can put extra pressure on families. That is why the volunteers and I work to provide a social network in the community. It is a pleasure and a privilege to give something back. 

Twice as Nice is a thrift shop ‘flagship’ of Mrs Wilson’s informal support network.

“During the East Timor conflict in the late 1990s, Burnham served as a collection hub for donated goods destined for Timor but transportation costs were a bit erratic, so a thrift shop was established to sell the goods and send the funds instead.”

Funds were later raised for the local community. 

Heather is happy to share her Kiwibank award with her volunteers and her community.