Outstanding Service to Harness Racing
Over Queen’s Birthday weekend Harness Racing New Zealand made three special presentations to members of the harness racing industry.
The Outstanding Service to Harness Racing Awards were individually presented to Robby Thompson (Auckland Trotting Club), Fiona Stuart (Ashburton Trotting Club) and Kerry Wells (Waikato Bay of Plenty Harness).
Robby Thompson was rewarded for her services to the Auckland Trotting Club last Thursday.
Previously the Executive Secretary for the club, Robby had been with the Auckland Trotting Club team for 28 years and retired from duties at the end of April this year.
Robby was described to have an enthusiastic, positive and unwavering dedication that was infectious to others around her. And was dubbed ‘the glue that held the Auckland Trotting Club together’.
The Auckland Trotting Club thanks Robby for her dedication and service to the club and the industry.
Fiona Stuart was recognized for her long service and dedication to the Ashburton Trotting Club. Fiona joined the Ashburton/Methven racing centre straight out of school at the age of 17.
At that time there were only three clubs involved with the centre, and Fiona worked there with Trevor Robertson.
Over her 36 years of service to the industry, the centre was transformed from the Ashburton/Methven racing centre to the Ashburton Racing Centre.
Fiona played a major role in transforming the business into a very well-functioning service that the clubs and industry relied on heavily.
She remained in that role for 36 years, working alongside Gareth Murfitt for the last 7 years of her tenure after Trevor Robertson had retired.
Fiona was an integral part of the Jewels over the first 11 years, and her hard work and dedication is recognized by the industry. We thank her for her extremely hard work and commitment to the club and the sport.
In May 1996 well known Northern Journalist, Kerry Wells, joined the Cambridge Trotting Club when the incumbent Secretary/Manager of the Cambridge Trotting Club, Richard Turnbull, unfortunately suffered a stroke.
Wally Courtman, then President of the Club, went in search of a replacement.
He found Kerry Wells and offered him the position. And the tale has it that Kerry said he would accept if the Cambridge Gold Cup stake was raised to an agreed level.
The Club must have increased the stake because Kerry accepted the position.
Kerry’s duties included running meetings for Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Morrinsville, Bay Of Plenty and Matamata (on course only).
During his tenure all of those clubs have become part of what we have today – the Waikato/Bay Of Plenty Harness Inc and Kerry was integral to those mergers.
During his time with the Club Kerry also oversaw the upgrade of the track by Daniel Coon. This included the implementation of the greyhound track, the new semaphore board, the upgrade of the grandstand, and the running of the Harness Jewels.
The place has changed markedly and all for the better due in no small way to Kerry’s involvement.
22 years so far and still going strong with other areas of the business now taking precedence Kerry has been a true asset to Cambridge Raceway and the harness industry.
His familiar “how are you mate” greeting is loved and respected by industry people and his usual raft of jokes are always welcome. A true trooper for the Club, and the Industry, and is deserving of recognition. Well done and thank you, Kerry.