Most people in the Melton community have probably heard of Alan Perry. The 69-year-old has been hailed as a “fantastic example of outstanding participation and involvement” and awarded Melton council’s 2017 Citizen of the Year.
What’s your connection to Melton?
We moved here in 1970 from West Footscray. We got married and we found out about Melton, heard it was pretty good and cheap compared to the other side of the town. But to be honest, we’ve always wanted to stay on this side.
What was Melton like in those days?
Very different. There weren’t too many houses – there were about 1100 people in the shire. And we didn’t get mail or anything like that. We got our mail dropped off at another house in another street, because the posties back then would only deliver to streets where there were more than two houses.
What’s your favourite thing about living in Melton?
I like the people. I like everything about Melton – there’s nothing bad about here. Although other areas say Melton is a bad place to live, you get bad points wherever you are. I’ve been involved in quite a number of different community groups, and I just love the community out here.
What would you change about the area?
There’s always room for improvement, no matter. But I think we’re pretty lucky today. Years ago, we didn’t have any buses. We had shops on High Street, but if you didn’t have a car, the only way you could get to High Street was by walking. There is room for schools and hospitals, and all of those types of things, but they’re all a state government issue – not local council.
Where’s your favourite place to hang out in Melton?
My house. Apart from that, we like the Golden Fleece Hotel and Hannah Watts Park … I’m in a lot of walking groups, so I see quite a bit of the area and think it’s beautiful.
I’ve also been involved in the Sons of the West program for quite some time. I’m one of the volunteer mentors this year. When I first retired, I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. I’m now out everyday – I don’t think I’ll retire at this point because I just don’t have the time.
How do you feel about being named Melton’s 2017 Citizen of the Year?
It was a bit of a shock. Even being nominated was a privilege, but to win is unreal. I’m proud, very much, but I’m also humbled.
What changes would you like to see in the world or your community this year?
I think peace and harmony. There’s a lot going around in the world, so I’d rather say peace and harmony. I can’t put it into words, but the other side of the world is suffering – there are wars going on every day. That’s why we’re pretty lucky out here.
Mr Perry is involved in the Heart Foundation’s Melton South and Melton Seniors walking groups, he’s an ambassador for Ageing Well, a member of Melton Men’s Probus, the Heritage Awards committee, Melton and District Historical Society committee, Melton Residents committee, council’s Community Care, and he is on the panel for the Woodlea Commemorative Walk.