GALLERY: Home-town setting ideal choice for Vic

THE setting was perfect as Vic Ludeman yesterday received the Moyne Shire’s citizen of the year award to honour his lifetime of dedication to the  community.

He was presented with the award at the Nirranda Recreation Reserve, a place he knows well having joined the reserve committee in 1973 and going on to become a life member and curator.

Mr Ludeman has been a long-time committee member of Nirranda’s cricket and football clubs and was a talented performer for both clubs, winning the football club’s senior best and fairest in 1954.

He was also a member of the Nullawarre CFA for 54 years, a life member of Warrnambool Agricultural Show Society and served on the Curdies River trust and Nullawarre school committees.

“It is a wonderful honour and to be presented here in Nirranda where I have spent a lot of time makes it even more special,” Mr Ludeman said.

“My mother and father were always very community-minded so I followed the lead they set and I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping in the community.”

The young citizen of the year award went to Casey Vallance, from Nirranda, who has helped communities locally and overseas.

The 18-year-old travelled to the Philippines last year as part of the Alternative Schoolies initiative and helped victims of Typoon Haiyan.

“It was a real eye-opener and it was great to see life from a very different perspective and to be able to help out,” she said. 

Closer to home she has contributed as a youth councillor for three years.

She helped put together a commemorative booklet and DVD to mark the Ash Wednesday bushfires’ 30th anniversary, captained the Nirranda A grade netball team and won a junior black belt in Funakoshi Karate. 

Peterborough’s Seaside Festival was named Community Event of the Year.

Community members and local service groups helped ensure the smooth running of the festival and local performers took to the stage alongside headline act Rebecca Barnard, who enjoyed childhood holidays in the town.

Port Fairy residents Linda and Roy Carson took on Australian citizenship yesterday and Mr Carson had the honour of singing the national anthem.

Weather commentator Rob Gell was guest speaker as Australia Day ambassador on a day when he received the national honour of an Order of Australia Medal.

Port Fairy’s Jack Smits had double reason to be smiling at the Port Fairy Belfast Lions Club Australia Day celebrations, winning the community service award and celebrating 60 years of his family’s association with the town.

The Lions club used its Australia Day ceremony to present Mr Smits with the James O’Neill Memorial Award for outstanding community service.

Since arriving in Port Fairy from Holland as a young child, Mr Smits has made his mark in the community in many ways.

He served a term as a councillor for the former Borough of Port Fairy, was a member of the Port Fairy Apex Club and is still a member of the Port Fairy Men’s Shed and bowls club.

But perhaps his most telling contribution is as the long-time head of the Port Fairy Folk Festival construction crew — a volunteer workforce that erects the main festival arena every March.

“It is a bit of a surprise to win, but a great honour,” Mr Smits said.

Later in the day he enjoyed a family function to mark 60 years since coming from Holland to Australia.

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