By DAVID HILL
Rangiora radio personality Neil Falconer has been honoured.
He received a Queen’s Service Medal in the New Year’s Honours List for services to the community and broadcasting, which included four years as an announcer with Compass FM in Rangiora and service as a Justice of the Peace (JP).
He says he was nominated by his son.
“I told him, ‘there’s other people more deserving than me’. You tend to think about what you’re doing in the community now, rather than the cumulative involvement you’ve had throughout your life.
“It’s been a very humbling experience.”
Neil began a 20-year career with the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (later Radio New Zealand) as an announcer at Radio Scenicland in Greymouth, before moving to 3ZE in Ashburton.He later worked as a radio journalist for 3ZB in Christchurch from the late 1970s.
“It was very different in those days as you tended to be semi-civil service with a very strong career focus. Today, it’s full of uncertainty and it operates on a totally different platform.”
From 1992 to 2011 he served as a volunteer announcer for Radio Ferrymead in Christchurch, before moving to Rangiora and joining Compass FM.
“Doing community radio, you are always on the cusp of journalism, community and the parish pump – you are never far from people.”
He has also served in Rotary, as treasurer for the Christchurch North Rotary Club, and helping organise Rotary International student exchanges. He has also served as a trustee at Shirley Boys’ High School.
While a financial manager for Westpac, he initiated volunteer Christmas gift-wrapping for the Christchurch City Mission between 2001 and 2014.
He has been a committee member of Christchurch Aotea Club, is treasurer of the Waimakariri Combined Friendship Club, has been an active JP since 2001, and an umpire and team manager for the East Christchurch-Shirley Junior Cricket Club.
Neil says he could not have done it without the support of his wife Olwyn. “You can only accomplish things if you have a good person standing beside you.
“My wife has been so supportive, even when I’ve made an idiot of myself – which you do from time to time. We are all human beings.”