Australia Day awards: James Heard earns Horsham Citizen of the Year title

HORSHAM'S James Heard is the city's Citizen of the Year for 2014.

Mr Heard, 81, will be recognised at Horsham Rural City Council's Australia Day celebrations at Sawyer Park on Sunday.

He said he was surprised by the recognition.

"It came out of the blue," he said.

"I didn't even know I had been nominated."

Mayor David Grimble said Mr Heard deserved the award.

He said he had made an outstanding contribution to the community over many years.

Highlights include his dedication to the Rotary Club of Horsham, and to Horsham Uniting Church and Wonwondah Uniting Church.

He is also an active member of the Horsham Historical Society and a life member of the Horsham Pony Club.

Cr Grimble said other awards included Young Citizen of the Year and Community Event of the Year.

Former Horsham College captain Matthew Bray is the Young Citizen of the Year for 2014.

He said he had not expected the award.

"I spent my time working and trying to get to where I want to be," he said.

"You don't expect that, just for doing that, you'll get an award like this."

"I spent my time working and trying to get to where I want to be. You don't expect that, just for doing that, you'll get an award like this." - Matthew Bray, 2014 Young Citizen of the Year

Matthew, 18, wants to become a technology and health and physical education teacher.

Cr Grimble said in 2012, Matthew won the Horsham Lions Club’s Youth Award for public speaking, District 201V2 General Knowledge and Public Speaking award and was a Youth of the Year finalist at the state level. 

He said he was also an active Red Cross blood bank donor and was involved in playing, coaching and umpiring football.

"Matthew has strong leadership skills and is an inspiring role model to his peers,'' he said.

"He is a very worthy recipient of this award.''

The Wimmera Machinery Field Days will receive the Community Event of the Year award.

Cr Grimble said the committee had shown excellence in planning, preparing and hosting the event.

"The event attracts thousands of people from all over Australia each year and celebrated its 50th anniversary last year,'' he said.

The Australia Day celebrations are at the Horsham Soundshell at Sawyer Park on Sunday, with a free barbecue breakfast at 7.15am and the official proceedings starting at 8am.

Ambassador Tony Cavanagh will give the annual Australia Day address at both Horsham and Natimuk ceremonies.

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