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Awards honour long service

Eaglehawk resident Judith Richards’ many years of commitment to the town’s Uniting Church has been recognised with an Australia Day honour.

Judith was one of six Victorians with Uniting Church connections to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia on Thursday.

Over a period of nearly 60 years with the Methodist and Uniting churches in Eaglehawk, Judith has been an op shop volunteer, Sunday School teacher, elders secretary and youth group leader.

Judith admitted she was still pinching herself after her award was announced and said she was honoured to be recognised.

“It’s wonderful to be part of both the Eaglehawk and Uniting Church community in general,” Judith said.

“We have been lucky enough to have had a wonderful family involvement with the church and it has always been there for me and has always been such a big part of my life.

“I’m a bit taken aback by the award and it was something I never dreamed of.

“It came out of left field and I feel a bit overwhelmed to be recognised this way, but feel incredibly thankful.”

David Greenall, from Black Rock, received an OAM for his service to the community, including as part of the Uniting Church Assembly’s Finance, Audit and Risk Committee, the Synod’s Audit Committee over two stints from 1997 to 2007 and 2012 to 2014, and as a lay preacher.

David Wright’s extensive volunteering within the Bendigo community was also recognised with an OAM.

David has filled choirmaster and organist roles and also been a council chairperson within the Uniting Church in Bendigo, while he has held volunteer roles with organisations ranging from the Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre to the Bendigo Easter Fair Society.

“Like all awardees I am humbled as a (recipient) of the award,” he told the Bendigo Times.

“It’s not just me being honoured but all the people who have worked with me in teams, hopefully improving society over the years, by introducing new services and improving existing services.”

Margaret Kearin from Kangaroo Flat was recognised for her contribution to the community, including as an elder with the Uniting Church.

Gifford Hatfield from Doncaster was recognised for his community and Scouts involvement over many years, as well as his commitment to the Koonung Heights Uniting Church, where he has been a member of the Parish Council and Property Committee and a Youth Group leader and mentor.

Thomas Buchanan was recognised for his service to music, including his current role as head of music at Kingswood College.

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