Tauranga's 'godfather of the mints' to be farewelled

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Gael Ansell from Bethlehem Te Puna Lions Club will be farewelled on Saturday
Gael Ansell from Bethlehem Te Puna Lions Club will be farewelled on Saturday

Tauranga's 'Mr Mints' will be farewelled this Saturday after passing away on his 80th birthday.

Gael Lindsay Ansell was known as 'Mr Mints' to his friends at the Lions Club after 34 years working with and organising the distribution of the fundraiser mints to Lions clubs nationwide, Bethlehem Te Puna Lions Club president Doug Morris said.

Mr Morris spoke fondly of Mr Ansell today, describing him as the "godfather of the mints".

"He was one of life's true gentlemen and yet he was also full of life and energy," Mr Morris said.

"He was a much loved and respected lions member, not just here at the Bethlehem Te Puna lions club but throughout all the lions clubs across New Zealand.

"He's been a giver in life, not a taker.

"He's been involved with the fundraiser mints since they first started in 1980."

Mr Morris estimated over $5million had been raised from the mints over the 34 years, with a big part of the money spread around charities.

Despite his deteriorating health, Mr Ansell would help out in any way he could, Mr Morris said.

"His wife Judy would bake hot scones with butter and he would turn up wherever we were. He would arrive right at the right time and open up the boot of his car and always have enough coffee cups for us."

"Even the week before he passed away he was down here helping out. That's how active he was, right up to the end," he said.

As well as giving 34 years of service to the Lions club, he and his wife also organised an annual fundraising brunch for the puppy guide dogs.

"$1800 to $2000 was raised annually from those brunches," Mr Morris said.

He also organised "truckloads" of oranges to be sent to Christchurch after the earthquakes, Mr Morris said.

Mr Ansell will be farewelled on Saturday at a Tauranga Park followed by a private cremation.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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