The Citizen of the Year Award goes to …

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A crowd of about 250 guests, five finalists, family and friends could hardly contain their excitement while they waited for the announcement of 2009’s Citizen of the Year during the awards ceremony at the 1820 Settlers Monument on Friday.

A crowd of about 250 guests, five finalists, family and friends could hardly contain their excitement while they waited for the announcement of 2009’s Citizen of the Year during the awards ceremony at the 1820 Settlers Monument on Friday.

The Grahamstown Sunset Rotary Club in conjunction with Pepper Grove Pick n Pay finally announced that the award goes to Councillor Michael Whisson.

Before the announcement, all the guests- who were beautifully dressed in formal evening wear- were welcomed with a glass of wine. Outside Guy butler Auditorium, pictures of the five finalists were on display in the foyer.

The five finalists, as announced in alphabetical order, were Francois Mentoor,  Mark Price, Joyce Sewry, Noluvo Sideba and Michael Whisson. TV personality and author, Tracey Going was the host of the show and shared with guests how each of the finalists is involved in their communities.

Nicky Turner, the 2005 Citizen of the Year winner was called up on stage to open a white envelope which contained what everyone was waiting to hear. As she announced the winner, the audience responded with a strong, warm round of applause.

Whisson serves as a church warden at St Michaels Cathedral, is the DA chief whip in the municipal council and Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Rhodes University. While Going read about Whisson’s involvement she said that, "he served in countless communities and as a DA councillor he focused on health matters, environmental issues and labour relations".

He used his talent to help sick people and also exposes corruption within the local government.  While he offered his gratitude, Whisson said "I see this as a partnership award" as he thanked his wife, Adrienne for being so patient with him because of his busy life. He also praised the organisers for their role in awarding local unsung heroes. In praising his community he said, "I’m enormously proud to be part of Grahamstown and I have had the best years of my life here.”

It was indeed a glorious moment when Going announced the big reveal- a gala setting behind a black curtain.

Daphne Timm outdid herself again in the catering department, with her candlelit dinner and décor and a sparkling touch of fairy lights rounding it all off beautifully. The glitzy and glamorous event was not just to celebrate the win but was also in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Citizen of The Year award.

The entertainment also came as a surprise to the guests when a band from Port Elizabeth, Mud and Honey started off gently but soon had guests on the dance floor. They performed hit songs such as Freshly Ground’s Doo Bee Doo song and Meredith Brooks’ You Gonna Miss my Lovin.’

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