Tauranga volunteering heroes get award

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Elaine and Ron Ward were all smiles when they received their ABS Good as Gold award. Photo/supplied
Elaine and Ron Ward were all smiles when they received their ABS Good as Gold award. Photo/supplied

A Tauranga couple in their 80s are all about giving back - from knitting for prem babies and volunteering at charity shops - and have been awarded the trip of their dreams.

Ron and Elaine Ward, of Matua, have now been recognised by ASB's Good as Gold awards for volunteering tirelessly for more than 20 years.

Their Good as Gold prize was two freedom passes on the KiwiRail New Zealand Scenic Rail journeys - all paid for and an extra $5,000 spending money.

Mr Ward had been involved with the Red Cross Meals on Wheels for more than 20 years, and volunteered as co-ordinator in 2007 and oversaw the work of 120 volunteer drivers.

He was also an avid knitter, supplying the Tauranga Hospital neo-natal unit with hand-knitted clothing for premature babies. He initially started knitting for the troops away at war, then moving to knitting blankets for Ukraine orphanages.

Mrs Ward was a Meals on Wheels driver but now volunteered in two different op shops in Tauranga and was known locally for giving back to others.

Married for 60 years the Wards were showing no signs of slowing down.

The couple were nominated for ASB Good as Gold by Sue Hall to recognise the huge contribution they both provided to those in need in the Tauranga community.

ASB Executive General Manager Marketing and Communications Roger Beaumont was delighted Ron and Elaine Ward have been recognised as the Bay of Plenty heroes they were.

"ASB is always humbled by the stories of our ASB Good as Gold recipients, and Ron and Elaine Ward are no exception. Through kindness and generously donating their time, Ron and Elaine have made a positive difference in the lives of so many in their local community," Mr Beaumont said.

"We wish Ron and Elaine the very best for their exciting rail-trip holiday.

"ASB Good as Gold asks the public to nominate people who are making a difference in their community, have succeeded against the odds, or who really deserve help in a time of hardship. ASB is proud to help recognise and reward wonderful people in our local communities," Mr Beaumont said.

ASB Good as Gold was created in April 2015, firstly as a radio segment on Newstalk ZB and now on television in Seven Sharp.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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