For Hayes a jolly good fellow

Stalwart: Simon Hayes (middle), watched by his wife Ngaire, receives a Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary Club of Queenstown president Keith McIntosh

Queenstown Rotary has handed out a prestigious award to the stalwart of a rival service club.

Local Lions Club member and former president Simon Hayes was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship at Rotary’s meeting last week, which Lions also attended.

The award’s normally given to Rotarians, but others who’ve performed outstanding community service are also eligible.

Hayes’ work encompasses both national and local good causes.

After arriving in town in 1986, his community work included chairing the Queenstown Primary School board of trustees and fundraising for two new classrooms.

That culminated in a fancy dress party on the Earnslaw steamship including parents dressed as French frogmen.

Before joining Lions he was an active Jaycees member.

He was in charge of raising money for community causes from business advertising in a local phone directory – till Telecom did its own.

Hayes was an inaugural participant in the $10 Queenstown Challenge, which nowadays runs from Auckland to Queenstown.

He’s now on the trust that owns the event and licenses the Cure Kids charity to run it.

That event’s raised heaps over the years, he notes.

Hayes says a big Lions fundraiser was the Queenstown Winter Festival bar which club members used to run, till WinterFest dispensed with its services.

A brainwave – “I think it was over a couple of glasses of red wine” – led him to found nationwide Lions Club fundraiser, Heads Up for Kids.

Launched in 2010, it’s raised almost $1 million from people handing in obsolete currency and foreign coins.

The project’s seen Hayes win an international Lions president’s medal.

His latest national project has been chairing Abbeyfield NZ, which has 13 affordable retirement homes around the country, for the past year.

Between times, the successful real estate agent also served six years on the local council, including a term as deputy mayor.

In thanking Rotarians last week, Hayes singled out his wife Ngaire for her support.

He says to be honoured by an alternative organisation is “amazing”.