Cleve District Council names 2021 Australia Day award winners

The Cleve District Council's Australia Day 2021 award winners have been announced, with Melissa Fennell the Citizen of the Year.

She is one of three award winners, alongside Young Citizen of the Year Hannah Forrest and the Arno Bay Halloween Event as the Event of the Year.

Mrs Fennell has a long history of contributing to community organisations, including the Cleve Football and Netball Club, Cleve Pony Club, Cleve District Council Tourism Committee and Cleve Area School.

This is in addition to her commitment to the South Australian Ambulance Service at Cleve for more than two decades, providing a vital service to the community.

She said being part of the organisations was something she enjoyed.

"I enjoy giving back to the community and feel I get a lot more out of it than I put in," she said.

"This is something I love doing and I am lucky to be able to do it."

She said her aim was to continue volunteering.

In addition to her volunteer work, Mrs Fennell purchased the Cleve Butcher Shop with her husband Grant two-and-a-half years ago, ensuring local products could be delivered to the community.

"It fell into our lap when another gentlemen asked if we wanted to be partners. That fell through a few months later and we ended up buying it solo," she said.

"We have definitely been lucky that the community supports us really well. We feel we are getting busier all the time and think the community appreciates still having the business here.

"We are not butchers, so we are lucky to have great people working with us."

Young Citizen of the Year Hannah Forrest has given extensive volunteer hours to multiple organisations, including Ports Football and Netball Club, Champions Academy, Arno Bay Progress Association, Arno Bay Community Sporting Association, Tumby Bay District Community Bank Cleve Agency Committee and Port Neill Primary School Governing Council.

She said she was doing her part for the town.

"I am very excited and honoured to receive the award, but I don't do anything for the recognition, I just try to get stuff done," Mrs Forrest said.

"Rural communities are declining in population but a few keep them running, I feel young people need to step up and need to be volunteering. We can't afford to lose anything we currently have."

Mrs Forrest's volunteering is in addition to studying a Bachelor of Commerce, raising two young children, helping to manage the family farm and run a small business enterprise from home.

She said projects that benefitted the community was something she was happy to be involved with.

"I just had a baby a few months ago so that has freed up some time while on maternity leave to volunteer, plus COVID made it a bit of a quieter year," she said.

"I will continue to take on projects I think he community needs. We are currently working hard on the Arno Bay community gym which is something I feel the community would benefit from."

Arno Bay's Halloween Event was hosted in October by the Arno Bay New Year's Day Committee, with a trick or treat map consisting of 20 stops that encouraged people to be physically active while having fun, and 220 children involved.

Businesses benefitted from the increase in numbers to the town and it was organised despite COVID-19 restrictions, with a COVID management plan and social distancing in place.

Committee chairperson Brooke Ramsey said they were surprised to win the award, but given how COVID had impacted a number of events it was good to have it take place.

"We felt like people were ready and wanted to do something. We held it in 2019 as well and it was really popular," she said.

"It gets everyone involved and all the volunteers, those who were stops on the route, put a lot of effort in.

"People seem to enjoy the event."

The awards ceremony and free breakfast will take place at Cleve Centenary Park from 8am.