A former Maddiston man, who emigrated to New South Wales with his family when he was a child, has received one of Australia’s top citizen awards.
Danny Hoggan received an Australia Day Community Award for his “outstanding service” to the Rotary Club of Cessnock and the Cessnock Probus Men’s Club, which he himself founded in 1986.
The Australia Day Honours are celebrated annually on January 26 across the country, recognising individuals like Danny who have made extraordinary contributions to society. The modest 81-year-old, who has also been a Justice of the Peace for the last 30 years, said: “Winning this award came as a compete surprise. My wife Olive and I attend the ceremonies every year and unbeknown to me this year three of my friends had nominated me.
“I was dumbfounded when they read my name out and completely overwhelmed with emotion as well as being a little embarrassed.”
Danny is also a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Rotary award – the highest honour that can be bestowed on a Rotarian.
Mayor of Cessnock, Bob Pynsent, who presented Danny with his Australia Day award, said: “Danny is a man filled with Rotary ‘Spirit of Service above Self’ who is only too willing to be involved in any project that benefits community.”
Danny, who is dad to Louise, Christine and Susan, said: “The organisations I joined, I did so because I wanTed to keep active in the community in which I lived.
“I did it for pleasure and because I loved doing it, not for reward. I am somebody who has to be busy. I plaN everythiNg I do from the time I get up in the morning and try not to waste a minute.
“I will be 82 in June and I am still very active, walking every day, enjoying lawn bowls and visiting the gym once a week.
Despite having lived in Australia for 67 years, Danny says he will forever be a Falkirk Bairn and has fond memories of living in Maddiston with his parents and 11 brothers and sisters.
“I had one of the happiest childhoods growing up even though times were hard. We made our own entertainment with the games we played from snow ball fights in the winter, to making bows and arrows from the wild rose bushes and sticking gramophone needles in the end of an arrow.
“We would play chestnuts and marbles and watch lassies with their expert skills with skipping ropes and tennis balls being bounced onto a wall. I have fond memories too of going for endless walks to feed on gooseberries, red and black currants, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, all growing wild around our neighbourhood and of playing with our “cleeks and girs” – to the kids today, that was a metal hoop (the gir) helped along with a metal handle (the cleek).
“I also loved going to Brockville Park with my father to watch the Bairns play. I am still an avid fan of them and always will be, often returning to watch them and meet up with my old friends Tom, Harry, Danny and Rita.
“I loved the town of Falkirk, especially on a Saturday morning when I would go into town and help my mother with the shopping. I loved Falkirk’s cobbled streets, Alexander’s buses, the Tattie Kirk and Mathieson’s cake shop.
“I may live in Australia and will always be grateful for what it has given to me and my family, but my heart will forever be in Scotland and my greatest love and pastime is Scottish country dancing – Scottish dance music truly is the best you will ever hear. You can take the lad out of Scotland, but you can’t take Scotland out of the lad!”