Men's Shed to the rescue

From a story by Sarah Marquet
Otago Daily Times, 2nd May 2013

"After the men from the Alexandra Men's Shed group heard about Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper carrying around his mayoral chains in an old cardboard box, they decided to do something about it.

Yesterday, before a council meeting, shed representatives Brian Phillips and Neil McArthur presented Mr Lepper with a specially made wooden case for the chains.

Mr Lepper said the chains once had a (long-lost) dedicated case but he had been storing them in an old cardboard gift box.

Former mayor and men's shed chairman Malcolm Macpherson did most of the work on the case. "He's the one with the expertise," Mr McArthur said. "I'd put him up there with any woodworker in this country."

[the box] is made of a mixture of woods including American white pine, kauri and jarrah that originally came from places such as the old Bendigo Hotel, the old Alexandra Railway Station and a railway sleeper that used to form part of the old railway between Clyde and Middlemarch.

The council's logo, a stylised mountain range, was carved into the top of the case by Robert Dykes. Mr Lepper said it was a "great pleasure" to accept the case on behalf of the council.

"I now have somewhere safe to put them because they get carted around in the boot a bit."

Brian Phillips (right) and Neil McArthur (centre) presented Mr Lepper with a specially made wooden case for the chains.

Sarah got it slightly wrong: the case is American white oak from a bed end rescued from Wastebusters in Alexandra. The top and bottom panels are kauri from the ceiling of the long-demolished Alexandra Railway Station, and the inlay is indeed from a jarra railway sleeper from the Otago Central Line. The button on the front is a re-purposed CODC cufflink. When the new CODC was established in 1989, the inaugural CEO (Pat Cooney) bought scarves, cufflinks, pins ... and a variety of other stuff featuring the new 'crest' of the council. Lots were given away, but lots are still sitting in the back of drawers and in storage. I used one to make the button on th front of this box.

Here's Sarah's published photo - permission to reproduce being sought

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