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Reporoa stalwarts honoured

Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge in Hamilton has opened its doors to supporters to mark the close of a year-long project to raise funds in celebration of the accommodation facility’s tenth anniversary.

Reporoa Lions Club is one group of supporters who were keen to tour the facility after sponsoring the renovation of three guest rooms at the Lodge. Two of the rooms were sponsored in honour of local Reporoa stalwarts John Poupard and Janet Gainsford.

The visit to the Lodge was especially poignant for the club as it coincided with the sixteenth anniversary of John’s passing. A Charter Member of the Reporoa Club, John was awarded Lions International’s highest award, a Melvin Jones Fellowship. His value to the district was immense.

Kit Gainsford, husband to Janet, says he felt honoured when Reporoa Lions member Paul Gibson asked for permission to recognise Janet’s contribution to the wellbeing of the Reporoa community during her career as a practice nurse and later as Lake Taupō Hospice nurse.

“When Paul rang and me and asked, I didn’t know what to say. I was just flabbergasted,” says Kit. “I’m very grateful. I’m still hearing stories from people who remember Janet and all she did.”

The club has a long association with the Lodge, raising over $120,000 for the facility from local farmers who donated some of the proceeds from culled stock at the end of the milking season back in 2012.

The significant sum raised by the club’s ‘cull cow programme’ is testament to the generosity of the tight-knit community.

Paul says it was an easy decision for the club to get behind the Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge in those early days when it moved from the Waikato Hospital to the extensive new site on Lake Road.

“We approached people who had been at the old Cancer Lodge at the hospital, and they spoke so highly of it. It’s amazing when you go around a community like Reporoa – everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer,” says Paul.

In recent years, the club also donated a defibrillator to the facility, giving additional peace of mind to guests and staff.

With ten years having passed since the facility opened, sponsorship from supporters like Lions has enabled the charity to update each of the guest rooms with fresh paint, carpet, linen, a television and armchair to provide a comfortable haven for people who are a long way from home while receiving grueling cancer treatment.

“It’s a beautiful building. Lions are proud of what it’s achieved,” says Paul.

“For people having treatment, it’s much better to be with others going through it too.”

It’s a beautiful building. Lions are proud of what it’s achieved. For people having treatment, it’s much better to be with others going through it too.

Paul Gibson, Reporoa Lions member