Train trust and volunteers win award

The audience gathers at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery last night for the announcement of the...
The audience gathers at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery last night for the announcement of the TrustPower Dunedin community awards. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
It is full steam ahead for the Otago Excursion Train Trust, which won the top prize at the 2012 TrustPower Dunedin Community Awards last night.

At the annual awards, presented at a function at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, the train trust received the supreme award - $1500 in prize money, and a certificate and trophy.

The trust has also won the chance to represent Dunedin at the 2012 national awards in the Bay of Islands next March.

Through the latest awards, TrustPower has donated $6250 to various community groups.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull told more than 170 people, mostly club and group representatives, that a record number of award entries had been "extremely difficult to judge" and the Dunedin community "simply would not function" without extensive volunteer input.

The train trust and its more than 90 volunteers were a "huge credit" to the city, havinghelped operate and maintain the Taieri George Railway for more than 30 years, he said.

Award organisers said the train trust had been established in 1979 by a group of rail enthusiasts who had bought some wooden-clad carriages to run an excursion train for the people of Otago.

The trust's "highly dedicated and hard-working volunteers" also staffed and chartered the excursion trains on the Taieri George Railway for cruise-ship visitors as well as for privately chartered trains.

"With up to 350 guests per trip and 84 excursions scheduled for this season already, it's a huge commitment by these volunteers who go above and beyond to ensure every passenger is able to soak in the stunning Otago scenery," TrustPower organiser Jess Somerville said.

Jeremy Rei, of Otago Boys' High School, won the youth community award.

This annual award recognises secondary school pupils' service to their schools and the community.

Jeremy received $500 in prize money, half for him and the rest for a community group of his choice.

Mr Cull said Jeremy was a "compassionate young man with strong beliefs", who was a "great ambassador for Dunedin".

Other award winners were.-Heritage and environment, Otago Excursion Train Trust; health and well being, Christchurch Embassy; arts and culture, Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust; sport and leisure, Otago Mountain Biking Club; educational and child/youth development, Koputai Kids After School Programme.


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