THE inaugural McGrath Shield was recently presented at the Horsham Show in honour of late Wimmera Legacy member Bill McGrath.
Nurrabiel woolgrower Alan Hutchinson was the first recipient of the shield, having won one of three major awards at this year’s Horsham Show fleece competition.
Mr McGrath’s daughter Alicia McGrath presented the shield on behalf of the Horsham Agricultural Society and Wimmera Legacy.
Wimmera Legacy president Neville Smith said the shield would be an everlasting way the group could honour Mr McGrath.
“Bill was a farmer before he was a politician and he organised the fleece competition at the Horsham Show for many years,” he said.
“Legacy was always an important part of Bill’s life when he left politics. He was a larger than life figure and did so much in the community.
“So when he passed, we all got together to try and think of a way to honour him, and the shield is what we came up with.”
Related: Horsham's Bill McGrath remembered
Every year the McGrath Shield will be given to the wool grower who had the best collection of three merino fleeces at the show. Mr Smith said many wool growers gave fleeces and monetary donations to help raise funds for Legacy.
“The fleece show is one of our major fundraisers for the year; it’s always a fairly substantial donation each time. Money raised for Legacy primarily helps war widows in this region,” he said.
“We help them pay for unexpected utility bills, along with other support. It’s about helping them live an easier life in their final years.
We always appreciate everyone who supports us in any way. Last year the wool show raised more than $6000 through fleece donations, monetary donations and sponsorship.”