HE has been kindly referred to as one of the best movers and shakers that Bathurst has ever been blessed to call its own. (Excuse the pun.)
And what many people of this city have long known has now been publicly recognised, with the recent announcement that Neville Dawson is the 2014 2BS Bathurst Regional Citizen of the Year.
The prestigious award was given to Mr Dawson in recognition of having clocked up 50 years service with the Rotary Club of Bathurst.
And although that is indeed a significant milestone, it says a great deal about the kindly octogenarian that it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Mr Dawson’s list of achievements over the last 65 years.
Best known as the founder of Dawson’s Removals – “Do you know the jingle?” he questions – he has also worked tirelessly throughout six decades to improve the lives of Bathurstians.
His community service resume is embarrassingly extensive.
Beginning his lifetime of service with Rotary, Mr Dawson went on to co-found the Bathurst St Patrick’s Sporting Club, was a board member when St Vincent’s Private Hospital was conceived, was a founding member of the Majellan Bowling Club, has been helping to steer the finances of the Cathedral Parish of St Michael and St John for more than 20 years and is currently serving on the committee overseeing the Cathedral Restoration Project.
And yet the man described as “a vital cog in our local community” by another local legend, John Seaman, remains modest.
“I am very humble to receive this award,” he said. “Every one of the other monthly award winners could have won this.
“They are all out doing good work.
“But this award brings me great happiness and satisfaction – I’m very grateful to have it.”
Mr Dawson has lost count of the many times he and his Rotary mates have lent a helping hand.
“I became a member of Rotary so early on that you were asked to join – you didn’t just volunteer. And once you know what Rotary is all about, you just want to be involved.
“It is a great organisation. The work they do to help the community is tremendous.”
Rotary is an international service organisation that brings together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, in a local, national and international arena.
Mr Dawson said the most recent Rotary Club of Bathurst donation was $20,000 to Glenray Industries to help it purchase an eight-seater vehicle which is used to transport people from their homes to their day programs.
“That’s the type of thing the Rotary Club of Bathurst has been doing for years,” Mr Dawson said.
He is quick to mention that many hands make light work and the Rotary Club of Bathurst is made up of a great crew.
But like most good men, Mr Dawson attributes much of his success to his wife of almost 60 years, Johanna.
“I am very fortunate that I have an understanding wife,” he said.
“She has been a member of Inner Wheel [a service club run by the wives of Rotarians] for many years as well. We make a good team.”
Still setting a cracking pace, Mr Dawson shows no signs of slowing down.
“I am very lucky to enjoy good health,” he said. “I’m a new man – I have a new hip and two new knees.
“I play golf twice a week, attend the Tuesday night Rotary meetings and am helping out with the Cathedral Restoration Project.”
And, he says, he has had a fortunate life.
“Let’s just say hard work and scotch goes a long way,” he chuckled.
With his characteristic tongue-in-cheek tone, Mr Dawson said that as citizen of the year he was most looking forward to receiving his free parking permit, a half-price reduction on his council rates and his very own copy of the Western Advocate for the next year or so.
“That’s all part of the deal, isn’t it?” he grinned.