Citizens stand out for honours

Shannon Hampton, GREAT SOUTHERN HERALDGreat Southern Herald
Shire of Katanning president Alan McFarland with three of four Active Citizenship Award winners — Katanning Men’s Shed president Ron Smith, Ricky Marris and Maurice Matthews.
Camera IconShire of Katanning president Alan McFarland with three of four Active Citizenship Award winners — Katanning Men’s Shed president Ron Smith, Ricky Marris and Maurice Matthews. Credit: Shannon Hampton

Among the hundreds who gathered at Lions Park to celebrate Australia Day, three individuals and one group stood out among the rest with recognition from the Shire of Katanning for their outstanding contribution to the community.

Each year the Shire of Katanning awards Active Citizenship Awards to inspiring residents who positively contribute to the community.

Ricky Marris, 23, was named the under-25 Active Citizen for his work with local sporting clubs.

Mr Marris is a member of the Katanning Squash Club committee, has coached the Katanning Wanderers’ under-17 team for three years in a row and is the Katanning Wanderers Cricket Club secretary.

He said he enjoyed giving back to the clubs who provided him with opportunities.

“I’ve played all the sports here for so long, everyone else has given me the chances I’ve had, I just want to give back to the younger people in town,” he said.

Maurice Matthews, who was awarded the over-25 Active Citizenship Award, said it was “tops” to be recognised.

Mr Matthews is involved in various community groups including the Katanning Agricultural Society, Men’s Shed, Katanning and Districts Car Club and the Katanning Historical Society.

“When I retired from the farm in Dumbleyung 17 years ago, people said, ‘you’ll get bored’, but I’ve never been bored,” he said.

“I’ve got a ute full of tools … I enjoy being there, fixing things and getting things done.

“Lots of fellas do lots of things, so I really appreciate this award.”

The Community Long Service Award was awarded to Ken Cook, who has spent more than 57 years using his specialised knowledge of automotives and parts to help others.

“It’s good, it keeps the brain going,” he said. “To nut out a problem, when it’s solved, it’s very satisfying.”

Katanning Men’s Shed won the Community Group category which president Ron Smith said recognised its important work.

“We do a lot for mental health — people suffer from depression, and to come together, they grow in confidence because they can talk about it,” he said.

“Also when men retire, their skills don’t retire, so they can use those skills to help others. We all become friends … it’s easy to fit in and takes some weight off their shoulders if they have a problem.”

Shire of Katanning president Alan McFarland said there were many deserving people in the community and encouraged them to nominate next year.

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