By DAVID HILL
The pleasure she gets from making a difference in her community makes it all worthwhile, Kaikoura community stalwart Julie Syme says.
She received a Queen’s Service Award in the New Year’s Honours List, joining her husband, Melville, who received the same honour in 2016.
“You don’t do things for reward. You just do things because you get pleasure from making a difference in your community, so it was a big surprise.
“I like keeping busy because it keeps you young.”
Julie says she and Melville always support each other in their community activities, including the Kaikoura Hospital and Mayfair Community Theatre fundraising efforts.
“Even though I drove the hospital project, he was there right beside me making sure I got the numbers right. It was the same with the theatre.”
The November 2016 earthquake means the Symes are back for a third fundraising drive for the art deco community theatre, having saved it in the 1980s and then raising more than $100,000 in 2012 to buy digital movie projection equipment.
“The theatre is probably going to have to come down. We will probably build two to three smaller theatres instead of one big one so we can have live shows as well as screenings.
“We are not great movie-goers, but we are passionate about it because it’s important for young people to have a safe place to go where there’s no alcohol.”
Julie was charter president of the Kaikoura Seaward Lions in 1992 and stepped down last year after her third term as president.
She has co-ordinated Lions fundraising projects, as well as serving as district governor. She recently returned to the district committee.
She was also Kaikoura RSA secretary from 2008 to 2016, a Kaikoura Education Trust trustee and has been involved with Plunket, playcentre, Red Cross and the Kaikoura Presbyterian Church.