TAMWORTH’S citizen of the year has called her win a victory for the region’s little people.
Little towns often need big, disproportionate efforts from their residents to thrive. With so many opportunities and facilities under your nose in a large, regional town like Tamworth, it can be easy to take things for granted. In small villages, like Moonbi, volunteers like Joy Ballard are the backbone of the community, volunteering much of their time just to give townsfolk some of the same opportunities as their bigger city cousins.
Moonbi local Joy Ballard was awarded the town’s top prize at the Australia Day ceremony yesterday and said she was humbled by the experience.
“I’m at a loss for words. It’s a bit overwhelming,” Mrs Ballard told the audience at Ray Walsh House.
The tireless Moonbi volunteer downplayed her efforts saying she couldn’t believe she was chosen out of a very worthy field of five finalists.
“It says something for the little people.
“I’m a little person from a little town. And it shows all of the little villages that are a part of this regional council that we do count and we make a difference,” she said.
Mrs Ballard has been a Moonbi resident since 1958 and has dedicated her time to helping to improve many aspects of life in the small community.
She has given her time to the Moonbi P&C Association, where she was made a lifetime member in 1977, the former Moonbi Community Development Committee, St Peter’s Anglican Church, the CWA, Moonbi-Kootingal Rural Fire Brigade, Moonbi Hall Committee, Moonbi Tennis Club, Kootingal-Moonbi Pony Club, Moonbi-Kootingal Respite Centre and Neighbourhood Watch.
Former Oxley High Student Toby Harradine was named Tamworth’s young citizen of the year for his academic and musical achievements.
Toby said he was very grateful for the award and was honoured to receive the John Green scholarship as a part of his award.
“John Green was a teacher at my school, while he never taught me, he had a very good reputation and was a great help to the community,” he said.
The Mitchell Brady Encouragement Award went to Tamworth teenage gymnast Julia Hannaford who was recognised for overcoming obstacles and continuing to strive in her field.
Julia recently competed at a gymnastics tournament in Las Vegas where she won a silver medal on all apparatus and finished second overall.