Gardens volunteer is Colac’s top citizen

Colac’s Denise Green says winning Colac Otway Shire’s Citizen of the Year award was a humbling experience.

Colac’s Denise Green says winning Colac Otway Shire’s Citizen of the Year award was a humbling experience.

COLAC’S Denise Green has described winning Colac Otway Shire’s major Australia Day award as a “privilege and honour”.

The dedicated Friends of Colac Botanic Gardens member received the shire’s Citizen of the Year award at an Australia Day ceremony this week.

Mrs Green said the award was “humbling” and was a tribute to all the people she had worked alongside as a volunteer for the past 50 years.

“It’s a real privilege, I’m very humbled,” she said.

“It doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to everybody that I worked with; it’s their award as much as mine.”

The former nurse has contributed to Colac organisations including the city’s Infant Welfare Centre, Winifred Nance Kindergarten, Trinity College and St Mary’s Parish Council.

She was also a founding member, chairperson and deputy chairperson of Colac’s Road Safety Council.

Mrs Green helped revitalise the botanic gardens alongside other Friends of Colac Botanic Gardens members.

She said the gardens became a passion after she moved to Colac in 1965.

“I love them, we lived just down the road, our first house was Queen Street so I came here every day virtually,” Mrs Green said.

“The gardens have been a big part of my life.

“They fell into disrepair and it was suggested to start a friends’ group and I was only too happy to be part of it,” she said.

“I learned a lot, and they’re wonderful now because of the enthusiasm of a large number of people.”

Mrs Green said she would have loved to have shared the award with her husband Matthew who died almost three years ago.

“Oh God yeah, I wish he was here, he was a medical practitioner in Colac,” she said.

Friends president Anne Mercer said Mrs Green was a worthy Citizen of the Year.

“Denise Green’s activities in the community have demonstrated her desire to help others and enhance the wellbeing of all,” she said.

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