Wilf Eccles is Volunteer of the Month for October, in recognition of years of conservation work at Gordon's Bush.
He received a certificate, a badge and a $40 voucher from Mud Ducks cafe.
"I didn't owe anybody any time, being on my own, and I didn't want to sit down for the rest of my life."
It started in retirement when Wilf would join others on bus tours around the area, on which Ridgway Lythgoe would often be driver. Ridgway is renowned as a keen tramper and former Department of Conservation (DoC) officer.
"We'd go on trips all around the North Island …"
It was then Wilf got inspired to volunteer for DoC.
Wilf started his working life in the newspaper industry in the UK, first in the office, then in dispatch and then as an apprentice stereotyper.
"The stereo department was a foundry … we were dealing with hot metal process, and yesterday's old plates went back in the pot."
Different times and techniques now long gone. During this time he was called up for his two years' National Service.
"A lot of guys didn't want to do it, but I couldn't wait to get in."
He still recalls his army number and the date of his conscription – the Ides of March.
"My first station was the Sudan."
He was far from home and that was a good thing, as far as Wilf was concerned. For some of his time there he became a wireless operator. That gave him a ride on a truck while others were marching in the heat.
On his return to civilian life he resumed his job at the newspaper on journeyman's wages.
In the 1950s Wilf came out to New Zealand. "It was as far as I could go without going back."
He arrived to a job at the Evening Post in Wellington.
"I came ultimately to Wanganui," he says.
In 1964 he bought a small shop in Morgan St, Castlecliff, from Tony and Mary Wilson. There were two shops in that street at the time, the larger near the corner of Cornfoot St, operated by Buddy Stephenson, and the small dairy further down towards the beach. This reporter remembers Wilf Eccles' name above the door on a sign sponsored by a bacon and smallgoods company.
He left the shop some years later to become a hospital orderly, where he remained for the rest of his working life.
Wilf's volunteering for DoC began years ago, near the prison.
"The land there was full of pines … we were out there pulling [pink ragwort]. The stuff was a nuisance."
Ridgway would drive the volunteers to the location in a bus from town and return them at the end of the day.
"One day we were picking this pink ragwort and I was with this young fellow from Korea. The bus was parked 100 metres away, along the track, over the hill. Just a spit.
"We were to leave just before sundown. Well, when the moon was shining, this fellow from Korea and myself were still looking for the bus."
Ridgway had to come and find them.
Wilf worked as part of the Friends of Gordon Park in the area locals know as Gordon's Bush.
"There are weeds to dig and certain plants to get rid of. You take a spade with you."
Wilf was on the job every second Tuesday and fourth Thursday. "Weather permitting."
He called them "gentleman's hours", 9am to 4pm.
Now that he has stopped working at Gordon's Bush, Wilf Eccles might have to find a new project.
He is 88 next month and he's bought a new chainsaw.