Donna Ballard named Wingham Citizen of the Year

A job well done: Donna Ballard is the 2018 Wingham Citizen of the Year for her work as Akoostik Festival coordinator. Photo: Rob Douglas.
A job well done: Donna Ballard is the 2018 Wingham Citizen of the Year for her work as Akoostik Festival coordinator. Photo: Rob Douglas.

“I’m gobsmacked.”

These were the first words from Donna Ballard after accepting the Wingham Rotary Club’s Citizen of the Year award. 

Donna received the award as coordinator of the Wingham Akoostik Festival.

She took the opportunity to recognise the work of all volunteers for the festival.

“It’s lovely recognition for the festival and recognition for the whole Akoostik family that makes this happen because it’s not just me.”

“I just pull the threads together but there’s like 140 volunteers that make the festival happen.

“It’s certainly not a one person job,” Donna said.

Alongside her husband Kevin and others, Donna was inspired to help create the festival.

The festival has grown from one day to a three-day event that attracted almost 5,000 people in 2017.

As coordinator, Donna is tasked with the running of the event, administration, ticketing, applying for grants and subsidies as well as overseeing the committee.

The festival is now recognised by Destination NSW as a flagship event for its efforts to bring people to the Manning Valley. 

Donna said planning for the 2018 Akoostik Festival is already underway with a couple of meetings in the pipeline.

“We really strive to build it and grow it each year and bring more people here to see what a beautiful valley we’ve got,” Donna said.

“It’s already started and getting momentum.”

Donna also shared her thoughts on what Australia Day means to her.

“Australia Day means a day to reflect, appreciate our surroundings but also remember some of the not so fortunate things that Australia Day is now being recognised for,” Donna said.

“It’s a day of reflection and appreciating our beautiful country that we are so privileged to be on.”