Kyabram Racing Club has honoured two of its greatest supporters.December 18, 2013 4:44am
Members of the Shellie clan line-up at the finishing post on the Kyabram trotting track which is now known as the Bill Shellie Raceway.
Kyabram stalwart Ian Purdey had been so busy helping to arrange the naming of the Kyabram trotting tack as the Bill Shellie Raceway on Sunday, he was caught completely off guard about being honoured himself.
The long-serving Kyabam Harness Racing Club secretary had the club pavilion named in his honour in a dual declaration before a large crowd at the club last Sunday morning.
The families of Purdey and the late Bill Shellie were on hand to see the Shellie and Purdey names fittingly officially recognised by the club for their efforts in establishing and sustaining the club and industry in Kyabram for more than 44 years.
The pair has played pivotal roles in establishing the club as one of the best training and trialling facilities in the state, a feat Harness Racing Victoria acknowledged in the past two years by Harness Racing Victoria with the gradation club of the year award and Purdey with the graduation secretary of the year award.
Among the large crowd in attendance was Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs chief executive David Brick, who also addressed the gathering and congratulated the club on its achievements and the vital role it played in the industry.
The late Bill Shellie was the founding president of the club and the driving force behind establishing a new training track and infrastructure at the Kyabram racecourse reserve, which is valued at $1.5
Bill’s grandson Wes Shellie replied on behalf of the Shellie family and said his family was deeply honoured and proud to have the track named in Bill’s honour.
A surprised Purdey said he was appreciative of the committee naming the pavilion in his honour.
He said he had enjoyed every minute of it in regards to his marathon, unfinished stint with the club.
‘‘I feel humble and very appreciative at receiving this honour,’’ he told the crowd.
Purdey has served the club for 44 years consecutively as secretary and almost as many as treasurer.
Club president Greg Caldwell said both men were deserving of their respective honours and had played significant roles in establishing harness racing as an industry in the town with their drive and initiative.
‘‘It just should have been done well before this,’’ Caldwell said.
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