Stepping down but not out

Cancer Society project manager June Mills holds a bunch of fabric daffodils, which are associated with one of the organisation's main fundraisers. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Cancer Society project manager June Mills holds a bunch of fabric daffodils, which are associated with one of the organisation's main fundraisers. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
June Mills is leaving the Otago-Southland Cancer Society today after 29 years working mainly in fundraising, but will continue to be involved as a new board member.

Yesterday, the 72-year-old said she would miss the day-to-day contact with colleagues, volunteers, sponsors and the public.

She looked forward to using experience gained in her long career to help the board guide the organisation's future. She spent most of her time at the organisation leading fundraising, although she said every society staff member and volunteer played a part in that. The role meant adapting big-ticket national fundraisers such as Daffodil Day and Relay for Life for the South. Daffodil Day started in 1990, while the first southern Relay for Life was in 2002.

Daffodil Day was her favourite fundraiser because it was gratifying to see people receive a ''wonderful gift'' in the form of daffodils for contributing.

The 22 years she spent in her first career, in television and radio, provided a background for the networking and relationship-building needed for fundraising. She felt fortunate and privileged to have worked at the society for so long, and to have spent her entire career in Dunedin, where she was born. Two years ago, she took on a new role, as project manager, with a focus on how the society could expand to meet expected growth in Central Otago.

Fundraising would always be the organisation's chief challenge, she said.

Chief executive Mike Kernaghan said Mrs Mills was a ''legendary'' figure who inspired colleagues and volunteers.

Earlier this year Mrs Mills was awarded a Queen's Service Medal in the New Year Honours for her contribution to the society.

- eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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