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GEORGE NEWS & VIDEOS - With the flip of a switch George Mayor, Melvin Naik changed York Street into fairyland on Saturday evening 14 December during the switching on of the Christmas lights at the 2019 Lights Festival in Unity Park.
Not even pouring rain could deter Georgians from this annual event where a variety of stalls lined York Street and musicians like Michael Lindt, Queen G the rapper, Tanja Storm and Loukmaan Adams kept the crowd dancing and singing.
Shortly before Naik switched on the Christmas lights, the George Citizen of the Year was announced. This honour was bestowed upon Colleen Smith, chairperson of Oudtshoorn Dogs in Need (Odin). Odin is an NPO initiated by Smith in Oudtshoorn in 2015.
Not only do they rescue and rehabilitate animals in need and educate pet owners, but they also offer boarding kennels and animal adoption services.
Besides a cash prize and a medal from the Eden Lions, she also received the highest honour the Lions can bestow non-members, the Louis Volks Humanitarian Award.
"The money will go straight towards fencing for our runs and kennels. I'm so chuffed for our team," said Smith. "They deserve the recognition for their hard work. To be out in the trenches every day, seven days a week, trying to educate and helping those in need takes its toll on our family life."
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In addition to the original Odin branch, Smith and her team opened another branch at the Tantivvey Guest Farm in George last year. They work around the clock to help where they are needed and mostly their working conditions are horrendous.
Sean Snyman, a member of Eden Lions, thanked the citizens of George for their involvement in the George Good Citizens initiative.
"Although we have had our challenges during 2019 we would like to see greater involvement in 2020 and ask that business owners join in to make this a prestigious monthly and annual award. It is not a popularity contest but rather a humanitarian recognition award, where the public nominate people going the extra mile for their fellow citizens. Let us expand this to every corner of George and let us see those unsung heroes in our communities," he said.
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