New Zealanders are known to be great volunteers but few would spend over 10 hours a week, on average, like Bev Chatwin does in Wanaka.
From regular shifts in the Upper Clutha Hospice shop, personal shopping for Elmslie House residents and delivering meals-on-wheels, to fundraising for Lions club activities and visiting older people in the community, Bev’s volunteering recently won her Wanaka Radio’s Good Sorts award.
But it doesn’t stop there. Bev lives at Wanaka Retirement Village, a Presbyterian Support Otago Enliven village, and frequently she pops in to her neighbours to see how she can help them. In winter, her now-famous vegetable soup is usually in one hand as she knocks on the door of someone she knows needs company.
Helping out with Village activities is also on her radar.
One of our younger Villagers, Bev was teaching in Christchurch before moving moved to Wanaka following the Canterbury earthquakes.
“Volunteering is a great way to get to know others and to find out how the town ticks,” says Bev. “I love every minute of it.”
Bev says she is stunned by the Good Sorts recognition.
“I certainly don’t volunteer for any reward”, she says. “I was taught at a young age to be caring and supportive, and that’s just what I do.
“I remember as a very young tot joining my grandmother on her horse and cart visiting neighbours and giving them food. She was a compassionate woman, so when growing up I thought helping others was normal.
“There is always someone whose day you can brighten – directly by visiting, or indirectly through fundraising – and in the process you enrich your own life.”
It comes as no surprise to those that know her, that on winning a load of fire-wood in a local raffle recently Bev immediately donated it to Wanaka Community Network so others would benefit from it.
As someone said, ‘That’s Bev!”
written by Su Anderson