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Community & Business

30 March, 2022

Bruce is our Senior Citizen for 2022

Bruce James has been named Gilgandra’s Citizen of the Year for 2022.

By Emily Middleton

Mr James was humbled by the nomination, with peers describing him as a ‘quiet achiever’ who ‘jumps in and helps wherever there is a need’.

“I am very humbled. I think there is very many deserving members in the community as well as myself. And congratulations to the other nominee, Geoff Pike.”

Mr James has been a member of the Gilgandra Men’s Shed for 10 years, and has served continuously on the shed’s committee in a number of roles including president.

“I was very privileged to be involved in the building of our facilities there eight years ago,” said Mr Pike.

He is a member of the Gilgandra Show Society, and of the Showground Trust, and has recently done a lot of work on the new buildings at the showground. Not only has Mr James organised the work, but has helped fit out many new rooms including the new showers and toilets, the new pony club rooms, and the new stables.

But his commitment doesn’t stop there.

Mr James is one of the resident lawn mowers for the showgrounds, spending many hours of his own time making sure the grass is perfect for the shire’s use. Mr James has been so dedicated to the upkeep of the showground that he even drove to Mudgee to pick up a heavy rubber conveyor belt that was installed on the walls of the stables, to prevent the horses injuring themselves.

One of Mr James’ proudest moments was being one of the organisers for the 2002 horse ride to raise money for cancer research.

“My son and his mate were at a pub in Sydney, and they had both lost close members of family to cancer, and they decided the thing to do was to go and raise money for research,” said Mr James.

“Because they were both pony club members, they decided a horseride across Australia would be a big thing to do.”

Four riders, including Mr James’ son rode from Darwin to Lakes Entrance in Victoria, right across Australia. It took them 11 months, and they raised in excess of $500,000.

“It took about two years of planning, and the horse riding was the easy part. Raising money was the difficult part. “We had the target of half a million dollars, which means $1200 a day, every day, for 11 months. And we raised $536,000 for cancer research.”

But it didn’t stop there.

“The research we started was quite successful, and a lot more money was added to it after it was started. “A brain surgeon was experimenting with a new drug at the time. The search is still going on even after 20 years. It was certainly an achievement.”

 Mr James was the farrier for the team, looking after the horses.

“It was a trip of a lifetime.”

Described by his peers as ‘organised’, Mr James is ‘one of those people you can count on to organise a major task, but he also gets in and quietly works behind the scenes’.

The other nominee for the Senior Citizen of the Year Award was Geoff Pike.

Geoff Pike is a very active member of the Tooraweenah community, and is a member of Tooraweenah Lions Club, where he plays a role in many community events, and provides catering support.

“Geoff has many monthly barbeques to his credit,” described his peers.

Mr Pike is also a great supporter of the Tooraweenah Endurance Ride, where he provides vital catering support. For the Tooraweenah Showground, Mr Pike provides catering and bar support for events, meaning he is often working long days, with early mornings and late nights.

Geoff’s work in Tooraweenah is greatly valued and appreciated by the whole community, and is described by his peers as “someone you can rely on to always provide a helping hand for any community activity”.

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