What our Citizen of the Year did next

It has been nearly a year since Tumut’s Jan Locke was named 2020 Snowy Valleys Citizen of the Year, but she hasn’t forgotten the honour.

“I was overwhelmed with receiving a Certificate of Achievement for Service to the Community and then to top it off being awarded Australia Day 2020 Citizen of the Year for Snowy Valleys Council,” she said.

Her efforts to keep local seniors busy and healthy with exercise and social fun saw her awarded the honour.

“It was unbelievable. I knew I was nominated, but when you see all those lovely people up there and you don’t think you’re one of them.”

Since that announcement on Australia Day last year, it has been a year like no other for Jan and pretty much everybody else.  

“It was a very different year with no exercise classes and no Tai Chi classes to keep me busy,” she said.

March 18-19 were the last days of her Smooth Movers gentle exercise classes due to Covid-19, and she missed these classes greatly.

“It was not the exercises so much but the people,” she said.

“Exercise keeps you fit but people keep you alive.”

However, not content to be idle, for about six weeks, with the help of MLHD and a videographer she made a short video for YouTube called ‘Stay active and make ageing a pleasure.’

“This was to encourage people to keep their body on the move for flexibility, balance and co-ordination,” she said.

“Exercise will also improve your stamina and help strengthen your immune system.”

During the lockdown, with no classes, Jan contacted most of her Smooth Moovers ladies and asked them to send her photos of them doing some sort of exercise.

“This was to keep us in contact and have a laugh,” she said.

“Some of the photos were of chasing cows, carrying wood, walking, golfing, raking hay and exercising at home.”

During the Covid-19 lockdown, Jan also got into her family history.

“It took me months to complete a photobook which will be published soon,” she said.

“I can’t wait.”

She and husband Col also made their own wicking beds and have been harvesting lots of herbs and vegetables.   

Jan is currently preparing to start Smooth Moovers again, this time in a bigger venue because of the need for Covid-19 social distancing.

“Tai Chi should should start soon after,” she said.

Jan and Col have lived in Gilmore and Tumut for the past 21 years (the past eight in Tumut and the previous 13 on their small farm in Gilmore).

They moved here from Wallacia in western Sydney, having decided between here and Tasmania.

“We like how quaint it was,” Jan said.

“We had a daughter in Melbourne and one in Sydney, so this meant we were right between them.”

Their daughters (and grandchildren) are now in Tumut and Gilmore themselves, and Jan and Col are here to stay.

“We’ve got everything here now; even the four seasons,” Jan said.“We have never experienced community like here. In Sydney, you only know your neighbours, but here it is like a village.”