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Mrs Melville (68) has worked for the trust since its inception 30 years ago.
Held at the Regent Theatre, the event was attended by about 100 people and run in the style of the This is Your Life television show, which honoured the lives of famous New Zealanders.
Paying tribute to Mrs Melville’s tireless community service were friends and former colleagues, along with her youngest son, Stephen Melville.
Special Olympics Otago patron Brian Benn spoke about the contribution Mrs Melville had made to the organisation as both a volunteer and its chairwoman.
Luminaries including Mayor Dave Cull spoke via video about Mrs Melville’s contribution before she was presented with her own "This is your Life" book.