Volunteering  |  27 Feb 2024

Being recognised with a Community Services Award is a badge of honour that the Canterbury Society of Model and Experimental Engineers (CSMEE) display proudly.

Christchurch residents John Howie, Mike Harrison and Ritchie Wilson have been volunteers for the CSMEE for twenty years, an organisation that is open to all Cantabrians interested in the design, construction and operation of models in machines.

“We have around 160 members in the CSMEE, with fifteen to twenty of our members volunteering to work on Sundays where we offer train rides to kids and families,” says CSMEE volunteer and President John Howie.

The group has been located in Halswell Domain for nearly twenty years, catering for many activities including the building and running of model steam, electric and InterCity (I.C) locomotives, radio-controlled boats, traction engines, stationary steam and internal combustion engines.

The CSMEE warehouse holds several petrol-powered locomotives, with around twelve locomotives running every Sunday at the same time.

“We’re always astounded by the amount of people who turn up on Sundays to ride the trains – it’s a lot of enjoyable work,” says John.

In 2023, the group received a Christchurch City Council Community Service Award in recognition of their community volunteering – an award which now proudly sits in the CSMEE clubrooms at the Halswell Domain.

This year, the CSMEE are helping to promote the awards which open for nominations on 1 March 2024.

“Our train shed, rail tracks, ticket booth and club house have all been built with the revenue we’ve collected over the years from the train rides,” says John.

“We’re always looking for new CSMEE members to join and help out and invite anyone with model engineering like-minded interests to get in touch with us.”

Community Service Awards are a chance to give well-deserved recognition to those who make our communities a better place. It’s an opportunity to thank volunteers for their dedication.

Nominations for the 2024 recipients open on Friday 1 March and close on Sunday 31 March.