Hard working citizen

Eric Marshall accepted the Circular Head Senior Citizen of the Year award on Friday, surrounded by family. Picture: Ashleigh Force. 

Reliable. Circular Head’s Senior Citizen of the Year has a can do attitude. 
No matter the task, Eric Marshall has a plan and the resources and skills to execute it. 
Eric was introduced to the Rotary Club of Smithton in his retirement and for the past decade has been instrumental in a number of local projects. 
Everything from selling raffle tickets and cooking barbecues to organising local fundraising events and delivering Meals on Wheels, Eric is the first to put his hand up. He also spends his Saturdays at the Smithton Recreation Ground, greeting football supporters at the gate. 
Without a doubt, Eric’s greatest contribution to the Circular Head community is his role in establishing and growing the Devil Country Muster. The inaugural event attracted some 600 locals and visitors to the Circular Head Community and Recreation Centre in 2013.
Eric had a vision for the event to be a highlight on the country music calendar, putting Circular Head on the map.
From sourcing and coordinating artists, the program and venue, Eric has achieved this goal in the years since, spending more than 800 hours in organising the event each year. 
The Devil Country Muster – largely through the work of Eric and his off-siders – has grown to attract more than 2500 people to last year’s event at the new venue at Trawmanna, Mella Road.
Now, in the final weeks of preparation for the 2019 event, the numbers are expected to continue to rise.
While at the Circular Head Australia Day Awards in Smithton on Friday, the Devil Country Muster received the Community Event of the Year accolade.
“I’m really excited about the Devil Country Muster receiving Community Event of the Year, because that has been what I have worked for,” Eric says, proud of his personal and shared achievements.
“I thought that Smithton [deserved] to have an event of its own that would put it on the map. That’s what I wanted to do and it’s done that.
“And I didn’t expect the Senior Citizen of the Year . . . I really cherish that one.”
While spare time is in short supply for Eric, he spends these moments at the Smithton Golf Club volunteering on various committees and occasionally sneaking in a round on the green. 
Eric is also a Paul Harris Fellow, an honour bestowed by the Rotary Club of Smithton in 2016.

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