A’town councillor put community first – Van Uden



Former Arrowtown councillor Lex Perkins, who died at the weekend after a battle with cancer, was the first to put his hand up for community causes, former Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden says.

Van Uden says Lex brought years of experience in local government with him from his Bluff days when he was voted onto the council in 2007, and his ‘‘practical and commonsense’’ approach proved invaluable.

‘‘He was solid and reliable and a true gentleman as well.

“There was never any ego involved with Lex, he was just there to help his community.’’

Lex, a Bluff borough councillor and deputy mayor before he moved north and served eight years on Queenstown’s council, died at Invercargill’s Southland Hospice, aged 81, on Sunday.

His death follows that of his wife and fellow community stalwart, Wendy, in July.

Van Uden says Lex was ‘‘on everything and part of everything’’ in Arrowtown.

‘‘It wasn’t just ‘I’m the councillor and I go to meetings’, he was actively involved in his community.

‘‘He would pick up the rubbish, he would go and mark out the spaces for the market and things like that.’’

Long-time friend John Mann says Lex’s positivity and ability to get on with people meant he was sought after for community roles.

Although sad the retirement the couple were enjoying so much was cut short by their illnesses, they enjoyed a ‘‘wonderful time’’ travelling the country by campervan after Lex stepped down from the council in 2015.

‘‘They were like kids.’’

His mate faced his diagnosis and deteriorating health with typical strength of character.

‘‘He wasn’t the sort of person who would feel sorry for himself — I don’t think I’ve ever heard him complain in all the time I’ve known him.’’

A memorial service is planned at Bluff Rugby Club at some stage in January.