Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Man behind the scenes

The efforts of Deniliquin's Geoff Riley in organising the annual Deniliquin Sun Festival have long gone unnoticed... until now.

CASS SAVELLIS January 25, 2013 4:55am

Geoff Riley - Sun Festival coordinator 2013

The Sun Festival has been an annual event in Deniliquin since 1981, and Geoff Riley (pictured) has been a member of the committee for the majority of that time.

He’s the man behind the scenes when it comes to Sun Festival events like the Kid’s Party Day, Family Fun Day and the Australia Day celebrations.

Mr Riley has been part of the Lions Club for 45 years, firstly in Echuca and then the Deniliquin branch.

He has been the president on three occasions and secretary numerous times, making an astounding amount of contributions to the community.

The Sun Festival eventually joined forces with the Lions Club to assist in running costs.

Mr Riley says he has fond memories of all the great Australia Day ambassadors that have been to Deniliquin.

“We’ve had fantastic guest speakers — Leonard Teale who recites poetry, Murray Rose a great swimmer, professor Dame Leonie Kramer and Nancy Wake, who wrote the autobiography The White Mouse.”

‘‘The former chairman, Gordon McCann sent a request to the Australia Day council for speakers to come out to regional places like Deniliquin,’’ he said.

This Australia Day the Sun Festival will celebrate with the Lions Market and exhibits from the antique car club and vintage car club.

In a first for local celebrations, all nominees for the prestigious Citizen of the Year award will be present at the ceremony.

They were all expressly invited by Deniliquin Council.

Previously, Mr Riley said the nominators of the recipients would be told ahead of time to ensure they were present to accept.

He said the format this year means no one knows which of the nominees will win the prize, until the official announcement is made. He said it makes the day more suspenseful and exciting.

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