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Last evening a complimentary dinner took place at Quill’s Hotel, at which a presentation was made to Mr Pilldngton, station-master, who has lately been promoted to the Oamaru District. There were 30 persons present, his Worship the Mayor occupying the chair, the guest of the evening being seated on his right, and Mr W. H. Gundry filling the vice chair. After the removal of the cloth, ‘■■he usual loyal toasts followed in quick succession.

Mr Henderson then read the following address, which was signed by the merchants and the principal residents in the town :

To B. Pilkington, Esq. Dear Sir, —We, the undersigned residents of Ashburton, beg to tender you our hearty congratulations on your well-merrited promotion to Oamaru, and we cannot permit you to leave us without expressing our high appreciation of the gentlemanly, courteous, and impartial manner in which you have discharged the duties of your important position whilst amongst us. Permit us to wish you and your family all health, happiness, and prosperity, and beg your acceptance of the accommanying small purse of sovereigns as a slight, though more substantial mark of our respect and es'eem.

His Worship said he had a very pleasant duty to perform, and was sorry that a more able person than himself had not been asked instead. However, it was not a fine speech that always conveyed the kindest wishes. Mr Pilkington had shown himself to be a thoroughly able stationmaster during the time he was in Ashburton, and it gave him (the Mayor) great pleasure to see that his abilities had been recognised by the Railway Department. It was always pleasing to reward public servants, especially when they proved themselves ever ready to do their duty, and the address they heard just read testified to the fact that Mr Pilkington departed from Ashburton with the best wishes of the community. These wishes were genuine, as the weight of the little purse he had in his hand convinced him that it contained a good round sum. He was sure that Mr Pilkington would be as well appreciated wherever he went, as his strict integrity and the painstaking, obliging way in which he always acted would soon command the respect of the employes and the public generally. He would conclude by handing Mr Pilkington a purse of sovereigns, which was principally the gift of the railway employes themselves. The guest’s health was then drunk with musical honors. Song—Mr Stephenson. Mr Pilkington, in reply, said he was taken by surprise at the handsome present made by the people of Ashburton, and he did not feel that it was altogether deserved. As a Government servant he had always endeavored to do his duty by promoting the welfare of the public, and by making the railway as popular an institution as possible. It was in the power of officials, on many occasions, to divert traffic from the railways by making themselves obnoxious to passengers. Since he had been connected with the railways he had always received the greatest courtesy and consideration from the Traffic Manager. (Hoar, hear.) The staff on the Ashburton station wore all of a,good sort, and they played second fiddle to none other. (Laughter.) Generally railway employees were looked upon by outsiders as always doing the “ Government stroke,” but he could safely say that, as far as Ashburton was concerned, there were no drones and all earned their wages, and did their utmost to serve the public and the department. Whilst he had been in Ashburton there had not been any serious complaints made to the Government by the public, cither with regard to the clerks, guards, porters, or other servants under him, and this was saying a good deal. (Cheers.) When ho came first to Ashburton the strong nor’-westers made him feel uncomfortable, but he had now got used to them and felt sorry to leave them (Laughter.) He was now going down into Scotland, and he did not know how he should get on as he was an Englishman but he did not doubt that many friends would soon be found by him in Oamaru. His successor, Mr Arthur, would have the benefit of an excellent staff under him, and he (Mr Pilkington) hoped that he would meet with as efficient a staff in the locality to which he had been called. He would concludebythanking them for their kindly expression of good will towards himself and family, and for their handsome present. The testimonial was particularly valuable to him, as it might

prove the means of getting another situation in life should he require it. (Applause. ) The vice chairman proposed the “ Mayor and Borough Council of Ashburton,” coupled with the names of the chairman and Crs Harrison and St. Hill, who suitably responded to the toast. Some excellent songs were then sung by Messrs Dunn, Newton, Canning, and Harrison.

Mr Moss proposed “Our Host,” coupled with the names of Messrs Stephenson and Henderson, to which toast both replied. Mr Zouch proposed “The railway employees,” coupled with the names of guards Macfarlane and Breeze. Both gentlemen responded to the toast. The chairman said he had to apologise for the absence of Messrs Bullock and Horne, who were unable to be present, owing to previous engagements. Song—Mr Canning.

Mr St. Hill said he would like to mention one fact before the proceedings ended, and that was to thank Mr Pilkington for the care and attention shown towards the 300 children who recently visited the Christchurch Exhibition ; and also to thank Guard Macfarlane for his valuable services on the same occasion. Song—Mr Harrison. Mr Moss is a humorous speech proposed the health of their new stationmaster, Mr Arthur, which was heartily drunk.

Mr Arthur suitably replied. Several other toasts (including the the “ Permanent Way men, coupled with the name of Mr Hawkins,” “ The Ladies,” and “The Press,” were duly honored, and a very pleasant evening terminated after singing “ Auld Lang Syne.” We must not omit to mention that Host Quill provided an excellent spread.

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Bibliographic details

DINNER AND PRESENTATION TO MR PILKINGTON., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 697, 25 July 1882

Word Count

DINNER AND PRESENTATION TO MR PILKINGTON. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 697, 25 July 1882

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