Photos – Gai Edge and Neville Edge with ESNZ President Richard Sunderland

Congratulations to April’s ESNZ Volunteers of the Month, wife and husband Gai and Neville Edge from Northland Jumping! We had no trouble finding people to talk about them and they couldn’t say enough good things! Everyone said they couldn’t think of anyone better for a volunteer of the month award as they are a tremendous couple who do so much for the sport of Jumping.

Gai and Neville are always the first to arrive at a show and the last to leave, they never cut corners and they make sure everything is finished before they leave for their drive back to Northland.

Judy Bowen described Gai and Neville as “very much a pair. You rarely see one without the other at a show. Neville is an absolute gentleman and they complement each other as a couple and work very well together.”

Gai and Neville have been volunteering for longer than anyone can remember. Gerrit Beker, who has known Neville since the early 1990s when Neville was a course designer, said “I’m always very pleased to see him working at shows where I am Course Designer.” More recently, Neville has been a technical delegate (TD) but comes with an eventing background where the role of TD plays a big role, so he brings this additional value to Jumping.

“He adds a lot, especially with queries and in difficult situations. Neville is diplomatic when dealing with people – this is one of his gifts. He has a great personality and is very calm.”

Gai has a background in Jumping judging and involvement in eventing, like Neville. She has mentored many people in stewarding and she has a vast amount of knowledge. 

“Gai is always ready with a chair if you want to sit down and have a chat at a show. She is known for her treasure chest of things in the back of her car – you can always ask ‘have you got…?’ And the answer is always ‘yes it’s in the back of the car under…’  It could be a biscuit, paper, a cup of tea, blue tape, a tape measure, or any other obscure item – Gai always has what you want!” said Judy.

According to Gerrit, Neville is very much a team player.  He interacts with everyone well which is critical in the role of TD. He is approachable and knows his job extremely well as a TD.

“Neville stays completely concentrated on the job across the entire show – he’s not just in ring one, he is out and about walking around looking at all of the rings. Neville works well under pressure, thinks things through and does not make hasty decisions. He is very fair in his evaluation of the difficult things and is thorough and hard-working.”

Gai is also the Northland Jumping delegate and proactive in her area.  She is always planning ahead, bringing ideas and queries to the table to help the region enjoy and prosper in their sport. She can be seen driving around the grounds checking rings, stables, truck park and everywhere else.  

“The places she can get her car are quite remarkable,” said Judy.  “As a steward she has a very sharp eye and misses little.  She is always willing to educate and help. She’s always available for a phone call – she is helpful and approachable.”

Likewise, Neville talks to everybody, walks around and talks to judges, writers, course designers and all the workers at a show to see how things are going.  Up-and-coming TDs have someone great to learn from in Neville; he is generous in sharing his knowledge.   

We are in awe of and immensely grateful to Gai and Neville for their commitment and invaluable service and for the countless hours of work they do. Their contribution ensures the future viability and ongoing success of Jumping.

Our sport is in safe hands with Gai and Neville and our other wonderful volunteers like them who quietly go about the business of sustaining the sport. Next time you are so lucky to be on the receiving end of our volunteers’ generosity, please take a moment to thank them.

ESNZ Volunteer of the Month receives a gift in recognition of their contribution; Gai and Neville’s will be on its way to them as soon as we can get back into the office.

You can nominate your ESNZ Volunteer of the Month by emailing us at [email protected]  with Volunteer of the Month in the subject line.

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