Guides make the difference

Rutherglen’s Anne Bilston was “stunned” to be named Indigo Shire’s citizen of the year. She will receive an award tomorrow.
Rutherglen’s Anne Bilston was “stunned” to be named Indigo Shire’s citizen of the year. She will receive an award tomorrow.

AS far as Anne Bilston is concerned, there’s always people in the community who do more than her.

Those people would probably disagree — and that’s why the 61-year-old Rutherglen woman has been named Indigo Shire’s citizen of the year.

Since moving to the town from Melbourne more than 20 years ago, Mrs Bilston quickly threw herself into helping the community in any way she could.

That includes being involved with the Rutherglen kindergarten, swimming club, Scouts, meals on wheels, St Mary’s Primary School Parents and Friends, Friends of Glenview Community Care, and the local agricultural show committee.

But the role she is most known for is as a Guides leader, something she still enjoys despite the fact her own children no longer attend the group.

“What keeps me going is seeing what a difference it makes with the girls, having fun in an environment that’s safe,” she said.

“Watching little girls change from being a total mouse to organising games and making friends is wonderful.”

All her volunteer and community activities may keep her busy, but Mrs Bilston wouldn’t change a thing.

“Sometimes I think ‘oh god, what am I doing?’ but then to see the difference it makes, it’s all worth it,” she laughed.

Still, being recognised with Indigo Council’s Australia Day honour, which her husband nominated her for, was not what she was expecting.

“You always think other people do more, so I was a little bit stunned,” she said.

Meanwhile, Indigo’s young citizen of the year award has gone to Rhys Torpy, described as “an outstanding young man from Tallangatta Secondary College”.

Rhys was recognised for his efforts as a committed member of the Sandy Creek Football Club, organising school socials, and fund-raising for worthy causes.

He’s also a member of Wodonga Field and Game and has volunteered to assist with Carols by Candlelight in Wodonga over the past few years.

Community organisation of the year went to the Rutherglen Gold Battery Committee, which “played a significant part in bringing about the restoration of an important part of Rutherglen history”.

The committee was formed in 2009 to oversee turning the battery site into a tourist attraction, which involved getting the machinery into working order and obtaining a grant for an enclosed viewing deck.

District certificates of achievement were awarded to midwife Joy Lee (Chiltern); baker and entrepreneur Tom O’Toole (Beechworth); and community volunteers Graeme Fisher (Barnawartha), Allan Croucher (Kiewa Tangambalanga) and Suzanne McIntosh (Yackandandah).

The Emma George Sporting Scholarship was awarded to 16-year-old cyclist Nicole Clark.