2024 Citizenship Award events held across Greater Shepparton small towns

Greater Shepparton City Council was extremely pleased to recognise the achievements and accomplishments of many outstanding citizens over the weekend, at a number of Citizenship Award events held across Greater Shepparton.

These ceremonies were well attended by the community, recognising the efforts of many citizens across the municipality. The event activities included guest speakers, entertainment, food and refreshments as well as the presentation of the 2024 Citizenship Awards.

Four different ceremonies were held over the weekend in Dookie, Murchison, Tatura and Mooroopna. The events celebrated residents who had been nominated by others, as they continue to make meaningful and important changes to their local communities. Each of the winners and nominees impacted the region in their own way, and Council were pleased to see these citizens appropriately recognised.

Mayor, Councillor Shane Sali, congratulated each of the award recipients and nominees across Dookie, Murchison, Tatura and Mooroopna, acknowledging the contributions they each have made to our region.

“It was fantastic to hear about the amazing community members who contribute so much of their time, without expectation of being recognised or rewarded, to improve their towns,” he said.

“The Citizenship Awards are a celebration of the many hours our local residents put in to develop their communities into a progressive and forward thinking community. I would like to personally thank everyone who took the time to prepare the nominations, as well as all of the nominees and winners across the weekend.”

See below a list of all the small town award winners, as well as individual profiles on each recipient.




Citizen of the Year

Jennifer Sanders GP

Senior Citizen of the Year

Arthur Fennell

Community Event of the Year

Jenny and Frank Lagozzino – Fundraising event for Myeloma Cancer

Sports Award

Greg Toy

Junior Sports Award

Tanz Dellar



Citizen of the Year

Kim Bussell

Senior Citizen of the Year

Ruth Horton

Young Citizen of the Year

Brianna Pleming

Community Event of the Year

Dookie Men’s Shed

Senior Sports Award

Valda and Richard Dickens

Junior Sports Award

Mia Ludeman



Citizen of the Year

Judith Revell

Community Event of the Year

Murchison CFA – for all community events



Citizen of the Year

Marilyn Banfield

Community Event of the Year

Rotary Club of Mooroopna New Year’s Eve Festival

Sports Award

Michael Ford

Winner profiles for Tatura

Citizen of the Year – Jennifer Sanders GP

Dr. Sanders joined Tatura Medical Centre in 1990 and is still working there as a Senior Associate. She provides 24 hour on-call service for patients of Tatura Hospital and Parkvilla Nursing Home. She has a great range of empathy and compassion towards her profession as a Doctor. A gifted clinician, supervisor, teacher and advocate who has dedicated herself to bettering the lives of babies, children, adults and older adults in our rural communities.

Dr. Sanders has demonstrated a deep commitment to the Tatura community, using a centred approach for her patients. She consistently advocated for the rights and well-being of her elderly patients. She has helped many families in finding respite care and permanent care for their older loved ones.

Dr. Sanders is a volunteer at Tatura Girl Guides, Transition Tatura, Clean up Australia and is the Health Officer and Canteen Coordinator at the Shepparton Model Railway Exhibition. Dr. Jenny Sanders is an outstanding Tatura Community Citizen.

Senior Citizen of the Year – Arthur Fennell

Arthur and his wife moved to Tatura in 1978. In 1980 Arthur had open heart surgery to replace his Mitral Valve. In 1983 a group of his ex-patient friends formed ‘Heartbeat Victoria’ and were the founding members in Melbourne. The group had plans for Arthur to start a group in Shepparton. With his wife’s assistance he served as GV Branch President for five years, and as Secretary, Treasurer and Newsletter Editor in 1998, inspiring many members from newsletter articles.

Other branches were started throughout Victoria and since 1986, the Heartbeat Goulburn Valley Branch donated $300,000 for equipment used in Cardiac Care at GV Health. In 2006, Arthur was made a Life Member of Heartbeat Victoria and he and his wife are still involved.

He joined Tatura Lions Club, serving as President in 2003 and was a member for 39 years. Other organisations he has been involved with over the years include being a volunteer driver for the Tatura Hospital, Tatura Men’s Shed and Rodney Masonic Lodge.

Community Event of the Year – Jenny and Frank Lagozzino – Fundraising event for Myeloma Cancer

Jenny and her husband Frank have owned and managed the Commercial Hotel in Tatura for more than 15 years. They have exceptionally busy lives running the hotel, yet still dedicate copious amounts of time and energy to raising funds for various organisations.

They have donated books to a local school, paid school fees for some students in need and have invited four members of each charity organisation in Tatura for a free lunch. They have provided free meals for service people on ANZAC Day, raised $7,000 for a local person to contribute to their hospital bills and they formed a “Help a Local Campaign” to help locals pay their bills.

They have especially focused for many years on raising funds for Leukaemia and have raised over $100,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation. Last year their focus was on raising funds for Myeloma Cancer due to one of their long-term customers being diagnosed with the disease. Their efforts raised over $12,000 in 2023 for Myeloma Cancer.

Sports Award – Greg Toy

Greg Toy relocated to Tatura approximately seven years ago. He has certainly made a name for himself due to his volunteer efforts and his expertise in Lawn Bowls. Whilst Greg played Lawn Bowls for over 20 years, he has been a Parabowler since 2019 as he suffers from Muscular Dystrophy. He represents Victoria at a state level in Lawn Bowls for players with a disability.

He plays and represents his local club – Hill Top Bowls Club in Pennant at the highest level despite his Muscular Dystrophy. At the Victorian State Titles for Parabowlers which were held in Bendigo, he won the Victorian title when he was competing against 50 other Parabowlers.

Greg inspires the local bowling community due to his high standard of bowls he plays and his happy demeanour and his willingness to assist others to improve their bowling. This is evidenced by the way he organises social bowls at Hill Top every week. He also volunteers at the Tatura Football Club behind the bar and he is a member of the selection and General Committee for Hill Top Bowls Club.

Junior Sports Award – Tanz Dellar

Tanz recently won the Tatura Hill Top ‘C’ grade Open Men’s Golf Championship, just prior to his 15th birthday. Tanz has won various club events at senior level throughout 2023, and has been nicknamed “killer” because of his determination to win against senior golf players.

Tanz has won the “Pam Wells” trophy in the past, this is for the Junior Golfer of the Year. He has represented Tatura for many years with the Goulburn Murray Golf Association. Just prior to Christmas 2023, Tanz was invited to play in the Victorian Country Junior Regional two-day tournament event in Bendigo, a very prestigious event.

He has always lived on or near the golf course. His Dad John is a keen golfer, and through the years Tanz has enjoyed playing with Dad, who has always been supportive and encouraged him to develop his golf game.

Winner profiles for Dookie

Citizen of the Year – Kim Bussell

Kim has an infectious bubbly personality, and she takes a genuine interest in supporting her neighbours, the youth of the town and senior members of our community. For several years she has volunteered at the Dookie Primary School in numerous capacities. She is the current School Council Secretary and an important member of the Family and Friends Fundraising Group. Singlehandedly, she manages the pie drive and show bag fundraisers.

Kim has kindly volunteered weekly to assist in the classroom with reading or any area the teacher needs help. She has also been a behind the scenes garden volunteer, ensuring that the school grounds are weeded, looking tidy and watered over the summer. She has run the Net Set Go program at Dookie United Football Netball Club and is now a Junior Coach. She also manages to be the timekeeper for the U14 football team and is a consistent canteen helper.

In her netball rolls she is always fair and encouraging and her ability to engage with the children as a coach and a friend is to be commended. When the 2023 netball season was over, the children were enjoying their netball so much that they continued training just for fun, and she was more than happy to continue the weekly sessions.

Senior Citizen of the Year – Ruth Horton

Ruth has made numerous contributions to the Dookie community including a long membership of the Dookie RSL sub branch. Ruth, in this capacity since 2017, has been in charge of merchandise sales for both Remembrance Day and Anzac Day services. As the Appeals Officer, she ensures that the merchandise is not only available but she actively promotes the sale and spreads the message of these two significant occasions.

Ruth has been a long time member of the Dookie and District Development Forum. There are multiple projects that Ruth has been involved in within this organisation, including the establishment of the Dookie Rail Trail, and the modernising of the CWA Gardens.

She has also been actively involved in projects to update and increase the number of street signs in the district as well as additional street lighting in the Dookie township. Ruth is an active committee member and rarely misses any meetings with any of the groups that she is involved with – Dookie RSL, Dookie and District Development Forum, Lifestyle Dookie and Life Dookie, to name a few. She is a loved and admired member of the Dookie Committee.

Young Citizen of the Year – Brianna Pleming

Brianna follows in her mother’s footsteps and helps where she can in the community of Dookie. Once a netballer, she volunteers her time to umpire football games and help out the Dookie Show Society.

Brianna spent over two weeks taking entries before the Dookie Show day, cleaned up the gardens, sheds and painted items to get everything ready in time. She also found time to enter many items into the show including a delicious cake. After stewarding the morning of the show, Brianna went and worked in the kitchen serving food and drinks to the public while her friends were having fun on the rides, showcasing her community focused attitude.

Since the loss of her mother in 2021 due to a serious illness, Brianna has managed to get her drivers’ licence and finish year 12 in 2023. She has a work ethic that should not go unnoticed.

Community Event of the Year – Dookie Men’s Shed

Housed at the Harker Pavilion of the Dookie Recreation Reserve, The Dookie Men’s She provides a meeting place for men to gather to support each other, enjoy a cup of tea and a chat. The group have project’s making wooden cutting boards and toys to raise funds to continue purchasing equipment, with the aim to increase the knowledge and ability of the local men.

They also repair community seating, have provided a picnic table and seating for the rail-trail at Conway Road, and repair furniture for local residents. They also provide a wood-work program for Dookie Primary School children one day a week. This award has particularly been awarded to them for the assistance to the Dookie Primary School in their recycling journey.

Senior Sports Award – Valda and Richard Dickens

Valda and Richard are a couple that continually exhibit the qualities of loyalty, selflessness, generosity, commitment and encouragement. Both are volunteers with many organisations but specifically noted here with the Dookie United Football and Netball Club (DUFNC), Dookie Uniting Church and the Christmas Hampers, Dookie Film Group and Dookie Recreation Reserve. They both have been instrumental in ensuring the DUFNC canteen runs smoothly on match day, and the Thursday night dinner after training also goes without a problem.

The Hydration Station at the Recreation Reserve was obtained in 2022 by a request from Valda, through the DDDF and assisted by Greater Shepparton City Council as part of the Community Plan Implementation Fund.

Junior Sports Award – Mia Ludeman

Mia is a year 10 student at Notre Dame College (year 11 in 2024). Not only a team player, but Mia is a club person. She loves netball and her club. She plays in the Under 17’s along with every other team within the club that needs extra’s on match day with a smile, fair play and mutual respect to her teammates and the opposing team. She is always there for set up and pack up on training nights, Thursday night dinners at the club and Saturday’s.

She also umpires Under 11’s most weeks without a fuss, contributing to canteen duty and water girl for the footballers if needed. She is also the clubs Social Media Specialist, encompassing countless hours of work promoting and engaging the club. She aspires to coach the juniors in the future. Her positiveness and enthusiasm is an absolute credit to her, but she is also a fabulous role model and fun-loving delightful influence for the youngsters of the Dookie United Football and Netball Club.

Winner profiles for Murchison

Citizen of the Year – Judith Revell

Judith has been a willing helper whenever needed in Murchison. She was a keen teacher of swimming, registered with Life Saving Victoria and mentored by Mrs Joyce Healey of Rushworth. In 1971, the Murchison Swimming Pool was opened and Judith could see the need for the children of Murchison to learn to swim and she became a qualified instructor. For over 25 years she taught many children from Murchison and district to swim and also obtain the various certificates that could be gained. Mothers of the children were also encouraged to swim and gain these certificates and Life Saving Skills.

In 1973, Judith became a member of the Murchison Bush Nursing Hospital Auxiliary. This organisation raised funds for the hospital by catering for various local functions. All the food was cooked by the members of the auxiliary.

From 1973 to 1993, Judith was Hiring Secretary of the Crockery owned by the Auxilliary and could be hired for private functions. From 2003 to 2017, Judith was elected Secretary of the Auxiliary which was raising funds for the DP Jones Nursing Home, as the Hospital had closed. This group continued until the Nursing Home was closed in 2019. Judith is 90 years of age and still contributes to the community wherever she can. She is a deserving winner.

Community Event of the Year – Murchison CFA – for all community events

The Murchison CFA is a strong representative of the community in Murchison. The Murchison CFA is always available at all local events in a logistic, mentoring and support role and is an important community base for all our community to meet and work towards a safe and healthy local community. Its core role of attending to local fire incidents is well recorded and the dedication of the CFA members speak for themselves in the number of fires attended to and property and lives saved.

The Team at Murchison CFA regularly undertake important training and foster an important community inclusive team. Its core role of attending to local fire incidents is well recorded, and the dedication of the CFA members speak for themselves in the number of fires attended to and property and lives saved.

Winner profiles for Mooroopna

Citizen of the Year – Marilyn Banfield

Marilyn has lived in and contributed to the Mooroopna community for 70 years now. She commenced teaching at 18 years of age at Shepparton Technical School and Mooroopna Secondary College, and was the inaugural directress of Mooroopna Alexander Street Kindergarten. Marilyn has been a member of over 20 various community groups spanning a period of over 60 years, and along with her husband has donated land to the Turaton Music Company which enabled the erection of rehearsal and storage facilities for the company.

Marilyn was a member of Turaton for over 50 years, during which time she was involved in almost all of the company’s productions and concerts. She has filled the roles of Musical Director, Accompanist, Committee Member including Secretary and was also involved with costume design and set construction. During this time, along with her husband, she was presented with life membership for her outstanding contribution to Turaton.

Community Event of the Year – Rotary Club of Mooroopna New Year’s Eve Festival

Over the last 40 years, this event has become the main New Year’s Eve event in the Greater Shepparton area. It attracts thousands of people to a free, safe and enjoyable night of entertainment. What started out as a small event in the street many years ago, has grown into a festival at the Mooroopna Recreation Reserve.

You only have to look at the range of nationalities and ages of people coming to the night to see that the festival’s appeal has no boundaries. Whether it is small kids dancing in front of the stage, teenagers enjoying the carnival rides, adults enjoying the music, food devotees trying to win a crayfish on the spinning wheel or families simply celebrating the New Year with the fantastic fireworks display – the night has it all for everyone.

The club is also thankful to the many businesses in the community that help support the festival financially. It is through this support, that the Rotary Club is able to keep it running as a free event for everyone to enjoy.

Sports Award – Michael Ford

Michael was selected to represent Victoria in the ID Cricket Team and played in Brisbane in February 2023, which is for participants who have an intellectual disability. Michael was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was 12 years old and has had a number of surgeries for his eyes. Victoria won all of their games and also won the Grand Final, where Michael received the Player of the Final Award. Michael just recently represented Victoria in Brisbane from 20 to 25 January 2024, making his community proud.

Michael also serves his community outside of cricket. He is a member of the Lions Club of Mooroopna and currently holds the position of Secretary, and has been a football trainer with the Mooroopna Football Club for nearly 10 years. Michael also received the inaugural Youth Volunteer Award for Shepparton.

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