Jill Newton is the Recipient for
Mayor's Award for Public Service

Mayor's Awards are rare awards given to people who have made a significant and sustained contribution to the district. The Award recognises the recipients as stewards of the district and as people of special note.

Jill has been involved with Town Watch for 24 years and has been the organisation's secretary for all of that time. Town Watch numbers have reduced and it has become harder to attract younger people – no one wants to work for free. But there has been a good response to a recent recruitment drive and numbers are back up. Jill is out on Saturday nights, twice a month for 5 hours a night and travelling approx. 100km each shift. Over the years she has observed different trends with people coming out of bars (people used to congregate on The Green). Jill believes the one way door policy and earlier closing of bars has been positive.

Jill said there is no doubt that Town Watch makes a difference. They are the 'eyes and ears' for the Police. They don't get out of the car, or attempt to intervene if they come across a situation, but having radio contact with the Police means they can quickly call for assistance. Jill spoke about a particular situation she was involved with – Town Watch were on their routine patrol around the Creek Road shops when they saw at least two people with hammers about to break into a premises. Police quickly responded and were able to catch the offenders before any damage was done.

Since the early 70s Jill has also been involved with the New Zealand Ostomy Society
      - Around 100 people in Ashburton have stomas and there are 6,500 ostomates in NZ
      - She has been involved with running camps for young ostomates aged between 10-20
      - Jill herself is an ostomate

Jill has held various positions over those years including Chairperson of the Ashburton Branch, a position she has had for almost 21 years having previously served in the roles of Secretary and Treasurer. She is also Secretary of the South Canterbury branch, for the past 16 years. She is a member of the National Executive of the Federation of the NZ Ostomy Societies for the past 18 years and is currently their National President.

In 2003 she accepted the challenge of becoming the Editor of the NZ Ostomate magazine. There are three editions each year, taking approximately 120 hours per issue to produce. This is all undertaken on a purely voluntary basis. Magazines are distributed free to all ostomates in New Zealand members and to 23 overseas countries. The magazine is very well received by the members, as every person has their own unique story to tell. However Jill's volunteering isn't just limited her extraordinary service to both Town Watch and the Ostomy Society, she also volunteers for:

      - Evening District Nursing Services – 34 years
      - Community Pool - volunteer lifeguard – 33 years
      - Ashburton Kidney Support Group
      - Mid Canterbury Civil Defence Welfare Team Member – 13 years

Jill is very unassuming about her voluntary work. She describes herself as a 'night owl' who is perfectly suited to the Town Watch role. She has spent a lifetime volunteering while dealing with her own health problems. She has great empathy for people who have been through the ostomy journey – and for people who struggle generally. Thank you John for all the work you have done for the Ostomy Community. .