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Sunday, March 20, 2011

All ages pitch in on 'sad' job

All ages pitch in on 'sad' job

Many hands make light work

Last updated 05:00 21/03/2011
Anne Marchant first went to university 50 years ago, but that did not stop her shovelling silt with student volunteers in Christchurch.

Marchant, 77, was one of about 110 volunteers and students at work in the city's eastern suburbs yesterday.

She responded to a radio appeal for more people to join the University of Canterbury Student Volunteer Army.

"I had happened to be on my way south this weekend anyway," said Marchant, who lives near Rai Valley, Marlborough.

Marchant studied architecture in London in her 20s but completed a BA in Art History at the University of Canterbury 20 years ago.

"It was very, very well organised and there was a lovely barbecue afterwards, where everybody started singing and jumping up and down. It's always nice to see young people enjoying themselves," she said.

Volunteers were mainly students and retired people, or others who happened to be passing, she said.

"The work was very sad. It was very sad to see how quiet and desolate the place was. I think you could call it fairly physical, because the silt had become quite compact and we really have to push hard to get into it."

Student leader Dem Doroschenko said the volunteer army's committee met last night to discuss how long it could continue working.

Volunteer numbers had dwindled as people returned to work and students went back to lectures.

"We are losing so many people unfortunately. We got a lot of work done, but there's still a fair bit to do," he said.

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