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Time to go...Lionel Wilson has ended his long career with Workbridge. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

After a long career with Workbridge, Timaru man Lionel Wilson has decided to retire.

The 67-year-old has worked for Workbridge, the government’s employment service for disabled people and those with health conditions, for more than 17 years and has a strong affinity with the disability sector.

Mr Wilson experienced a personal crisis himself when he had his left leg amputated due to bone cancer.

“I was 29 and managing the Showgrounds service station. Lynette, my wife has been my rock through some very difficult times. When you’re 29 you don’t expect such a threat to your life.

“It turned our family upside down.”

At the time he and his wife had two young sons, Blair (2), and Reade who was six months.

Mr Wilson said he received strong support from his employer, the Todd family, but having recovered he decided to move into the financial area.

He worked for the Countrywide Building Society, Trustees Executors and then became branch manager for the IHC in Timaru, and eventually area manager for South Canterbury, North Otago and Mid Canterbury staying for 13 years.

“We were getting people out of institutions, moving people into employment and paid employment. We were taking them from Cherry Farm and Templeton to having them, so they could have quality of life.

“I was lucky to build seven to eight homes in South Canterbury and North Otago to support people and to ensure the support was appropriate.”

Mr Wilson’s community service has included Rotary, Jaycees, Neighbourhood Support, Timaru’s needle exchange and the Outward Bound committee. He has received a QSM for his community work.