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Trots stalwarts honoured at Kyabram

Kyabram Trots Club has honoured the late Bill Shellie and secretary-treasurer Ian Purdey at a function on Sunday.

GUS UNDERWOOD December 20, 2013 4:15am

The Shellie clan gather at the sign to honour Kyabram Trots Club stalwart, the late Bill Shellie.

It was well overdue, but two Kyabram trots stalwarts earned their just deserts last Sunday.

At a well attended ceremony at Kyabram Trots Club, the late Bill Shellie and secretary-treasurer Ian Purdey were honoured for their contribution to the club.

Shellie has had the training and trialling racetrack named in his honour, while the clubhouse will be called The Purdey Pavilion.

Purdey had been so busy helping to arrange the naming of the Kyabram trotting track after Shellie, he was caught completely off guard about being honoured himself.

The families of Purdey and 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 with the Graduation Club of the Year award and Purdey with the Graduation Secretary of the Year award.

Among the large crowd in attendance was the chief executive of the Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs, David Brick, who also addressed the gathering and congratulated the club on its achievements and the vital grassroots role it played in the industry.

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 that is valued at $1.5million.

His grandson, Wes Shellie, replied on behalf of his family and said they were 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 his marathon, unfinished stint with the club.

‘‘I feel humble and very appreciative at receiving this honour,’’ he said.

Purdey has served the club for 44 consecutive years 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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