Ron Fensom is a familiar face in Halswell firstly, because he has lived here since 1960 and secondly, because he has devoted all of his spare time to community service, achieving much and collecting a number of awards along the way.
The Halswell Lions Club, of which Ron joined as a founding member in 1978, gave Ron a President's Appreciation Award for outstanding service in 1993/1994. The Riccarton Wigram Community Board have awarded Ron twice; with a Community Service Award in 2000 and with a Certificate of Appreciation for unparalleled commitment and dedicated long service to the Halswell area, in 2016. Making the Queen's Birthday list of honours in 2004, Ron was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for community service. In 2006, The Christchurch City Council gave him the Civic Award for services to his community. More recently, the Halswell Residents Association presented Ron with a quarry rock trophy engraved 'Ron Fensom Q.S.M Lord Mayor of Halswell' for having the vision to form the Halswell Residents Association and for chairing it for 22 years. As if all this isn't enough, Ron is also a former Jaycee, a founding member of the Halswell Probus group, and a member of the Templeton Returned Servicemen Association.
Ron attributes his love of community work to growing up in the little West coast town of Kumara that was always "pitching in together." His mother, although she passed away at the age of 29, was an influence too, as she was a tireless community worker. Ron settled in Christchurch, where he met his future wife Jennifer and the pair moved to Halswell to raise their three children. Earning a living as as a plant engineer at Hornby Glassworks and later, Lane Walker Rudkin, Ron was often on call day and night. After this, he worked as a sales engineer for Andrews and Beaven, which he thoroughly enjoyed, travelling throughout the South Island giving lectures on energy efficiency.
Today, Halswell residents continue to benefit from the things that Ron and the clubs and committees that he belongs to, have campaigned for. There are far too many to list but some that come to mind are: the bus route being directed to go past the hospital, the Annual Anzac Parade, the Halswell War Memorial Restoration, the Halswell and Halswell Junction intersection upgrade, public meetings on local issues, court battles to save buildings, new footpaths, pedestrian crossings, cycleways, mitigation systems for Lillian St flooding, speed limits, new ward boundaries and so on. Ron through the Lions Club, has been able to be involved with many other local projects as well as attending seven district conventions and one international convention.
The project that Ron is most proud of is chairing forty-two meetings over fifteen years, in order to retain the extension of the Domain so sports facilities could be expanded there. Yet, Ron reveals a lovely humble attitude, when explaining some of his motivations: " I'm just an ordinary guy," "I learnt how to project manage while I was an engineer," "I think a dream without action is a figment of your imagination," and "You can get a lot done if you enjoy what you are doing." Ron is not an "ordinary guy." The long list of awards testifies to this. He has worked tirelessly and courageously to leave Halswell with a stronger identity through historical projects, and also to make changes and provisions for the current and future needs of this area. For those of us who are newer residents, it is good to know of the upstanding citizens who fought to make Halswell the wonderful community minded place that it's known for today. May we not be too busy building our lives, that we do not contribute to the place around us, or be the generation that does not see beyond our own needs. Ron Fensom Q.S.M has a remarkable legacy that we all are the receiptants of. He is, and possibly always will be the 'Lord Mayor of Halswell.'