‘Humbled’ pyrotechnician priest Citizen of Year

THE famous fireworks priest, Father Anthony Koppman of Guyra, said he was "humbled" and "surprised" to be named Guyra's 2013 Citizen of the Year.

He didn't think he'd win it.

"There were nine other people nominated and I didn't expect to win it, to be honest," Father Anthony said.

"I'm honoured to be recognised in the community for the work that I do."

Father Anthony, who was ordained as a priest in 2001, was a priest in Armidale and Moree before coming to Guyra's St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church four years ago.

He's renowned for his Holysmoke fireworks productions but said his priest work was extremely important.

"The role of the parish priest here's not just looking after the church and the school, but it's also the wider community, which includes, for me, the police chaplaincy, chaplain to the RSL and assisting and helping with local community events, such as Christmas carols at Guyra hospital and at Ben Lomond," he said.

His award was presented in front of 130 people at the Australia Day awards ceremony held at the Guyra Bowling Club.

"It was one of the biggest Australia Day dinners we've seen for years," Father Anthony said.

"The mayor, Hans Hietbrink, said it was wonderful to see so many people nominated and the good works done in the shire."

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