Special recognition for Valley’s VIPs

A “WHO’S who” of the Bega Valley Shire gathered at the Bega Country Club on Saturday to celebrate their wealth of contributions to the community.
Nanjing Night Net

Recipients of Order of Australia awards and their invited guests gathered formally for the first time, to mark the recent formation of an Order of Australia Association Far South Coast group.

Group convener Jennifer Butt OAM seemed a little overwhelmed by the turnout of around 30 award recipients – and close to 60 guests overall – but nevertheless extremely pleased with the morning’s proceedings.

Bega Valley Shire Mayor Tony Allen welcomed the OA recipients and their guests, paying tribute to the example they provide through their tireless community work – often unrecognised until the nomination arrives in the mail.

“It’s marvellous to see you all here today,” Cr Allen said.

“With all the thousands of meetings you’ve been to, there would be thousands of times you’d go home scratching your heads wondering how to get community support.

“Your self-discipline and motivation is a wonderful example you provide for the younger generations to follow.

“I offer my thanks for the huge amount of work you all do.”

Member for Bega and Minister for Ageing and Disability Services Andrew Constance also acknowledged all the work done by those in the room.

“The community cannot thank you all enough – your contribution is not celebrated enough,” Mr Constance said.

“The work you do at all the hours of the day on all sorts of things makes us a better community.

“This is a wonderful community, a very strong community.

“It’s probably the strongest community in the state, maybe even the country, and without a doubt that strength is due to the volunteers,” he said.

Coordinator of the Order of Australia Association’s NSW regional groups Ron Sharpe was also a special guest at Saturday’s morning tea gathering.

“The OA is not just about hierarchy – it’s about real people and real lives,” Mr Sharpe said.

“We don’t go through the work with various community groups to get an award.

“All the things you’ve been involved in – it’s humbling to be recognised.”

That was a sentiment also shared by Bega’s young leading light Nathan Barnden.

Mr Barnden received the John Lincoln Youth Community Service Award in 2011.

On Saturday he read an excerpt from a submission prepared by one of his teachers that led to him receiving the award.

Among many other feathers in his cap, it outlined Mr Barnden’s work in the Rural Fire Service, the Bega Valley Youth Council, various sporting achievements and being an ambassador for Australia during a trip to South Korea.

“When I first read through this it brought me to tears,” Mr Barnden said.

“Like you all I don’t do this for the accolades.

“I’m deeply honoured and humbled to speak here today.

“What you’ve done in your lives far exceeds what I’ve done or am yet to do.

“I can only hope to live up to that,” he said.

Joining group convenor Jennifer Butt OAM (front) on Saturday are Bega Valley Order of Australia recipients including (in no particular order) John McKee, Kerry Pfeiffer, Garry Mallard, Jim Collins, Alwyn Armstrong, Mary Cocks, John Liston, Peter Barber, Ossie Cruse, Simon Schiavo, Clair Whiter, John Skelton, Patrick Maley, Allan Whiter, Kevin Cole, Corinne Nicolson, David Rossi, Gary Vale, Edna Duncanson, David Winkworth, Beryl Schaefer, Paul Windle, Peter Johnston, Laurel Powell, Doreen Elliott, Noel Trevaskis and Margaret Douch.

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Posted by at 29/04/2018
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