Dungog’s John Copus named Citizen of the Year

Dungog mayor Harold Johnston, sports award winner Ken Russell, Citizen of the Year John Copus and Australia Day ambassador George EllisA very humble and honoured John Copus was named Dungog Shire’s Citizen of the Year on Australia Day.

Ken Russell received the sports award.

In receiving his award at a packed James Theatre, John said each of the other nominees were worthy recipients.

“I was at the directors’ meeting at the Dungog Memorial RSL Club when the letter came in from [Dungog] council asking for nominations,” he said.

“I didn’t think anything was going to be done about it, but unbeknown to me, a few people put me forward.

Enjoying breakfast on Australia Day were John and Janette’s Copus’ grandsons Henry Markey, Bentley Titmuss and Oscar Markey.

“As a parent with children you get involved with sport and things they are interested in.

“And I certainly got a lot of joy out of doing it.

“My wife and family have been very supportive, not just last year [when I was sick] but over many, many years.

“I accept this award as an honour.”

John has been involved with a lot of organisations over many years that play a significant role in the community.

He has been involved with Dungog Preschool, Dungog junior rugby league, cricket, tennis, swimming club and golf.

He was treasurer at Lara Aged Care for eight years and treasurer at Dungog Memorial RSL Club for 16 years and still holds this position.

Ken Russell has been involved in and contributed to, a range of sports in the Dungog area since 1959.

These include tennis, junior rugby league, cricket, athletics and more recently lawn bowls.

Ruth Wells and Ronda Tyne

He has been both a coach and player and has always given back to the many sports he has been involved in.

Dungog’s Australia Day ambassador was George Ellis, one of the nation’s top musical director and conductor.

George said his parents were both Greek and made the decision to come to Australia for a better life.

Australia Day ambassador George Ellis

“They grew up in Alexandria but wanted to make a better life for their future family,” he said.

“My father chose Australia as he heard it was the land of opportunity and had many virtues.

“This land has given me many opportunities.

“On our drive up here yesterday I saw the beautiful lush country side and I know you have the Barrington Tops and the Chichester State Forest on your doorstep.

“And look at this beautiful theatre.

“I have been all around the world but there is nothing like Australia, I love it with all my heart.”

Emma Turner raising one of the flags

Pat Simmons helps Emily Gibson during the flag raising ceremony

Aimee Turner raising the flag

Annette Robards and Col Medcalf

Dungog Lioness members Ruth Dircks, Joyce Byron and Jane Levick cutting up the Australia Day cake. The organisation has been catering at Australia Day for over 25 years.

Lindy Hunt and son Broc. Lindy was nominated for Citizen of the Year and Broc for Sportsperson of the Year

Dungog Guides Charlee Lean, Aimee Turner, Emma Turner; front Emily Gibson

Peter Doyle, last year’s Citizen of the Year Margot Capp and Robert Richardson

The Fort family from Paterson – Tony, July, Will and Olivia

The large crowd at the James Theatre for the Australia Day celebrations

Cutting the Australia Day cake was ambassador George Ellis and award recipients Ken Russell and John Copus.

Clarence Town Singers Kerry Jeffers, Gordon Ewin, Bernice Jeffers, Barrie Edwards, Liz Stuckings, Bronwyn Hibbert, Sue Flannery, Marilyn Amos, Trish Van Eyk, Peggy Brennan and Dennis Bourke.

The Clarence Town Singers performing

Janette and John Copus (back centre) with their family

Citizen Award nominees Lisa Connors, Lindy Hunt, Janet Lambert, Lyn Moseley, winner John Copus, Nick Helier representing Peter Haggarty who was unable to attend, Col Medcalf and ambassador George Ellis.

Cr Neville Bale, wife Beryl and Cr Tracy Norman

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