THIS year’s Leeton Australia Day award winners range from a young Aboriginal man who has achieved much in his short years, a woman without whom the Whitton community couldn’t exist and an event that ensures the town shines bright.
That’s just the tip of the many achievements from this year’s winner.
Alan Chesworth was named as the citizen of the year, with Elijah Ingram taking out the young citizen of the year title.
Mr Chesworth was nominate for his wide-ranging efforts in the community with groups such as the Rotary Club of Leeton Central, JumpStart, the Leeton Presbyterian Church, Carols in the Park and the Riverina Men’s Choir.
“I’m not very often short of words, but I am now, because I really didn’t expect this,” Mr Chesworth said.
“We don’t do this for the awards. We just do it because we enjoy doing it. It’s not something I really think about.
“I’ve always grown up with family doing things in the community and it’s just what we do.”
Australia Day also marked 49 years since Mr Chesworth and his wife Lorraine moved to Leeton to the farm they still live on today.
Mr Ingram has been a shining representative from the shire’s Aboriginal community during his teenage years and even before then.
He has spent time overseas as a Rotary exchange student, as well as dedicating much of his spare time to the Leeton Army Cadets.
Next month he will start the next chapter of his life when he heads off to Macquarie University in Sydney.
“I just would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me on my journey so far,” he said.
Taking home the achiever of the year in 2019 was Whitton’s Tracy Catlin for the efforts she puts in to the community through a variety of committees and groups, as well as in the sporting arena in Leeton shire.
“As most volunteers do, we do it because we enjoy it … the people we meet are always very interesting,” she said.
“Many hands make light work and that’s what I find in my community. And what a great community we live in.”
Barney Herrmann won the young achiever of the year after a successful year academically and on the sporting field, as well as being accepted into the Flying Fruit Fly Circus School in Albury.
Event of the year went to the Leeton Balloon Glow, while the Water Wheel Garden Club picked up group of the year and the Leeton Eisteddfod Society organisation of the year.
The balloon glow attracted thousands in 2018 as part of the Leeton SunRice Festival, trying new ways to keep everyone interested before the main event by having plenty of stalls and entertainment beforehand.
The garden club has been steadily boosting its numbers and raising the profile of its Easter Monday event in recent years, with president Jeanine Bird on hand to accept the award.
“It’s just amazing the community we live in … our event has grown exponentially in the last few years,” she said.
“We have so many great members. It’s a wonderful group to be part of.”
The Leeton Eisteddfod Society has been around for more than 50 years, ensuring talented people from across the area have a chance to test themselves against each other.
President Judith Nolan thanked the person who nominated the society and called on the community to make sure they visit the eisteddfod later this year when it is held at the Roxy Theatre.
Hugh Milvain was named as this year’s lifelong citizen to the shire, which will be further covered in a separate article.
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