As one of Northland's most committed sports administrators, Gwen Lawson has been honoured with a Queen's Service Medal for services to sports administration.
Lawson has been involved with sports administration at national and Northland regional levels since the late 1950s. Mrs Lawson served on the Board of the amalgamated Bowls Northland from 2002 to 2017, including three years as chairperson.
Before amalgamation she served as secretary, treasurer, club delegate and president of the Northland Women's Bowling Association. She was secretary/treasurer of the New Zealand Women's Umpires Association for bowls and coordinator of amalgamation into the New Zealand Umpires Board.
Lawson had also been involved in other sports such as marching and netball. She has been involved with marching for 38 years, serving as president of the Whangārei and Northland Associations and as a centre level executive member for 20 years.
She was a netball coach at club level for 21 years and was centre delegate at the national level. She was the official tutor/examiner for Umpires for Northland and umpired nationally.
"I was almost overwhelmed that people who are involved in the sport put this together," she said.
"For all the flak you get, it's also nice to be recognised for what you have achieved."
Lawson's father, Frank, was a big presence in sports administration which she credited for encouraging her to get involved.
As a single mother of two, Lawson worked for a finance company for 32 years which made her a valuable asset to sport clubs wanting to start and run efficiently.
While being a sports administrator came with its own challenges, she said it kept her involved with the community.
"People today don't want to get involved, they'd rather pay, play and walk away, enjoy what they do and don't take responsibility
"I'm nearly 80 so I can't go on forever but it keeps me involved, living on my own, so I can stay in touch with the community."