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MEDIA RELEASE - Australia Day Awards recognise tireless volunteers

26 January 2019

Two Glenelg Shire residents who have dedicated their time to volunteering for the community and supporting those most in need have shared the 2019 Glenelg Shire Citizen of the Year Australia Day Award.

Portland’s Dianne Burch and Gordon Page were named joint recipients of the day’s top honour, recognised today in celebrations hosted across the shire.

Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Anita Rank said both individuals were fantastic role models for the community.

“Dianne has gone above and beyond to support those less fortunate not just in the local community, but right across the world,” Cr Rank said.

“She is involved in a number of organisations and groups such as CFA, Mission to Seafarers, Narrawong Primary School, Kyeema, Narrawong Mouth 2 Mouth and she sponsors children through World Vision and the Than Loc Project.

“Dianne’s latest passion is the ‘Days for Girls’ project which saw her recently return from Nepal where she and another resident distributed 80 sanitary kits to women in two remote villages. She truly embodies the meaning of community spirit.”

Fellow Citizen of the Year Gordon Page has committed his time to volunteering for various groups and clubs in Portland.

“Gordon is the past President of the Rotary Club of Portland Bay and is familiar face amongst the Portland community as the gentleman serving coffee at the Rotary coffee van,” said Cr Rank.

“He is instrumental in attending every local event involving the coffee van and ensuring its success. He has volunteered countless of hours to make the Rotary Club of Portland Bay at the heart of the community.

“Gordon is also heavily involved in the Great South West Walk and has been a works officer for the past 20 years. He is the walk’s main designer for the camp shelter and toilets, and builds the walk’s bridges, fences and board walks. It is largely a result of his tireless efforts that Great South West Walk continues to remain one of the most stunning walks in Australia.”

Hundreds of people joined Australia Day celebrations in Portland, Casterton and surrounding townships to recognise award winners and to celebrate the citizenship of four new Glenelg Shire residents.

Television chef and lifestyle icon Paul West presented at the Portland civic ceremony and decorated naval officer Paul Cottier was guest speaker for the Casterton civic ceremony.

Other Australia Day award winners included:

Joint Senior Citizen of the Year - John Coxon
John has been an integral member of the Casterton Football Netball Club and was made a life member in 1999. He devotes many hours each week and is currently one of four club trainers who look after the players within the club, a position he has held permanently since 1999.
John was also club President from 1995 to 1998, steering the club through a growth period. The recipient is also a life member of the Casterton Fire Brigade and was awarded a National Medal in 2013 and a 35 year Service Award in 2017.

Joint Senior Citizen of the Year- Barry Watson
Barry is the Treasurer of the Heywood Men’s Shed, as well as the Treasurer of the Victorian State Committee of the Victorian Men’s Shed Association. He has worked tirelessly on securing grants for projects to assist the Men’s Shed which are implemented throughout the community.
The recipient is also on the Heywood Rural Health Volunteers Group for the community transport program, the Consumer Advisory Committee and many other local groups.

Young Citizen of the Year - Patricia Thompson
From a young age Patricia has been involved in community performance. She has been a member of the Portland Citizens Brass Band for most of her life, continuing the family tradition where her grandfather, both parents and sisters have all been members, and some bandmasters.
She is often the musician who plays The Last Post for Portland city commemorations and events, such as ANZAC Day services and funerals for veterans. Patricia is hard working and dedicated, equally to her studies and her musicianship, and is a leader amongst her peers in the community.

Community Group of the Year – Portland Citizens Brass Band
The Portland Citizens Brass Band has been contributing to the town of Portland since its formation in 1888 and is run entirely by volunteers. They represent Portland at official ceremonies, community events, private functions and at competitions both in and outside the shire.
For the first time in their long history they represented Portland successfully at a national level, competing in the 2018 Yamaha Australian National Band Championships, with very successful results.

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