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Northern Grampians announces Australia Day Award winners


Northern Grampians Shire Council has announced the winners of its annual Australia Day awards at celebrations in Stawell and St Arnaud.
Neil and Shiela Thornton have shared Stawell’s Citizen of the Year honour, with Ryan Kell named Young Citizen of the Year.
The Community Event of the Year award went to a Zumbo Just Desserts drought-relief event at Navarre, which attracted more than 160 people.
This year’s Local Hero Award was won by a Stawell Avenue of Honour project.
Stawell residents celebrated Australia Day at an official ceremony in Cato Park, which included family activities and fireworks.
St Arnaud residents enjoyed a breakfast ceremony and morning tea in Market Square.
Wayne Rourke won the Citizen of the Year gong, with Kate Douglas crowned Young Citizen of the Year.
The Community Event of the Year accolade went to Let’s Get Together, an event to support the region’s farmers.
Yvonne Nevill is St Arnaud’s Senior of the Year.

2017 Northern Grampians Shire Council Australia Day Awards


    Citizens of the Year – Neil and Sheila Thornton

    This couple dedicates its own time to working with young people in the Stawell community.
    For more than 40 years they have trained students from Stawell Secondary College and worked hard behind the scenes to ensure the success of the school’s annual debutante ball.
    As well as teaching the younger generation to dance, Neil and Sheila represent a clear and firm portrayal of the traditional values of respect and exemplary personal
    Many people in the community have wonderful memories of their deb ball and the training sessions completed in the lead up to the big night.
    These dedicated trainers play a huge role in helping to create these memories and keeping the tradition of the Debutante Ball alive.
    In addition to displaying kindness and patience to the
    younger generation, Neil and Sheila are involved with the Stawell RSL and regularly volunteer at the Eventide Homes.

    Young Citizen of the Year – Ryan Kell

    Ryan has been described as a role model of respectability, integrity and honesty and displays a personal maturity far beyond his 15 years.
    He volunteers his time to the Northern Grampians Shire Youth Action Council, helping to improve community life for
    local young people.
    Last year Ryan was a year-nine ambassador for Stawell Secondary College and a member of the school’s Great Victorian Bike Ride team.
    He is always thinking of others and leading by example and this has been recognised by his teachers, peers and local community groups.
    As well as volunteering for various organisations, Ryan is committed to his academic studies and has an impressive 100 per cent attendance record at both primary and secondary schools to date.

    St Arnaud

    Citizen of the Year – Wayne Rourke

    Wayne Rourke is a valued member of his community and has taken on many roles of responsibility since joining the Slaty Creek Brigade in 1985.
    Wayne has worked tirelessly to promote the work of the Rural Fire Brigade and is constantly improving facilities and
    occupational health and safety for the group.
    He has also been instrumental in successfully applying for grants to purchase a fire service vehicle and equipment to
    improve the efficiency of fire brigade trucks.
    As a strike team leader and a qualified CFA Incident Controller, Wayne received the National Medal for his service to the CFA in 2016.
    In addition to all this, he is a past vice-president of the St Arnaud Agricultural Society, a life member of St Arnaud Pony Club and a member of St Arnaud Bowls Club Committee of Management.
    He also finds time to hold down the role of secretary-treasurer for the Slaty Creek Hall Committee

    Young Citizen of the Year – Kate Douglas

    Kate is recognised for putting her community first whenever possible.
    She has been an active member of the St Arnaud Queen Mary Gardens and the St Arnaud Historical Society and also assists with community functions and fundraising events including the Stuart Mill Picnic.
    Kate recently danced at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat, volunteering her time for ‘Dance for a Cure’ to help cancer support groups.
    In the past two years she has volunteered as a dance trainer for a Down’s Syndrome group in Ballarat and Kew on a weekly basis.
    She has also excelled academically, achieving an ATAR score above 90 and receiving a scholarship through Melbourne University where she was accepted into the elite Victorian College of the Arts.
    In addition, she still finds time to return to Stuart Mill to
    work on the family farm whenever she can, and is a current new member of the Stuart Mill Fire Brigade.

    Community Event of the Year – Let’s Get Together

    After many years of drought, this event was designed to recognise the support that partners provide our local farmers.
    The group of ladies behind the idea put a great deal of time and effort into organising activities to pamper the women of our farming district, including massages, facials and demonstrations.
    The activities provided on the day catered for women of all ages and those who attended commented on what a terrific initiative it was.
    Let’s Get Together was a timely distraction from the challenges faced by farming families during this time and many laughs and stories were shared throughout the day.

    Senior of the Year – Yvonne Nevill

    Yvonne is a great supporter of community events.
    Her brilliant ‘people skills’, generosity and helpful nature have led to her being described as ‘the glue that holds the community together’.
    During her early years in St Arnaud, she played in the pipe band, served on the kindergarten committee and ran bingo for the golf club.
    She was the catering secretary and treasurer of the Country Club and has been the president of the ladies bowls.
    Yvonne is currently heavily involved in the Probus Club and gives up her time to organise outings and trips for members. It is said that nothing is ever too much trouble for her
    and she always has a smile on her face.

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    Posted on Jan 26 2017

    Posted by on Jan 26 2017. Filed under Community, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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