FEATHERSTON athletics and rugby stalwart Ron Hughes was named the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Wairarapa sports awards at Solway Park last night.
It was a hugely popular honour for Hughes who in his mid 80s is still heavily involved in providing sporting opportunities in the small South Wairarapa township.
Introducing the The Lifetime Achievement Award, Wairarapa Times-Age sports editor Gary Caffell said it could be argued this is the most important award of all, for without people who were willing to give up so much of their spare, and often not so spare, time to ensure others could follow their sporting pursuits, the wider community would be worse off.
"In fact, without people of their kind, there would be a lot of sports that would struggle to survive. They are the gems of the sporting world, and it is only fitting that, at an evening like this, they are given the recognition they thoroughly deserve."
Caffell said Ron Hughes had spent much of the past 50 years heavily involved in two sports, athletics and rugby.
The athletics involvement had finally come to an end just a month or so back when he retired from the committee of Athletics Featherston, a decision which ended 47 years of being an integral part of that club. For decades, he had marked out the track at Card Reserve, as well as visiting South Wairarapa schools to encourage new membership. He also spent countless hours writing the club newsletters and then there was the fundraising, much of that involving selling raffle tickets at the Empire and Royal hotels on Fridays and Saturday nights.
It was nothing for Hughes to get up as early as 5.30am to ensure the athletics track was ready for action and that all the finishing posts and the equipment needed for field events was in order.
Twenty-five years into Hughes' stint with Athletics Featherston, he received a long-service award from Athletics New Zealand and, in 2004, the Athletics Featherston club awarded him life membership, hardly a surprise considering the host of administrative roles he had filled, including that of president.
Hughes' involvement with rugby on the administrative side goes back 42 years and also started in Featherston. And it has gone down much the same lines as athletics with much of his focus being on promoting the junior side of the sport.
In the early days, he regularly organised games with Wellington clubs for both the Wairarapa-Bush and Featherston sides and he became the JAB delegate to the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union many years ago, a position he still holds.
Ron Hughes is a life member of both the Featherston Rugby Club and the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union and was president of the Wairarapa-Bush union in 2001 and 2002.