Bellata's Brian Nairn crowned 2017 McGregor Gourlay Local Legend

Brian Nairn has long been a local legend in his beloved hometown Bellata, but now the 82-year-old can claim to be the Local Legend for the whole district after taking out the McGregor Gourlay competition.

On Wednesday afternoon Brian was named the 2017 McGregor Gourlay Local Legend and was presented a cheque for $5,000 which will go towards much-needed renovations for the kitchen at Bellata War Memorial Hall, Brian’s chosen charity.

Brian said he was shocked when he found out he’d won the competition, ahead of other finalists Don Quast from Crooble and Moree’s Penny Boydell, but has since not been able to wipe the smile off his face.

“I’m a happy man,” he said.

“I can’t stop smiling about it all.

“I guess it shows I’m well-respected in the district, especially around Bellata. I feel very proud.”

McGregor Gourlay general manager Josh McGregor said it was an extremely tough choice between all three finalists and in the end the winner came down to the biggest response to the videos and posts on McGregor Gourlay’s Facebook page.

“All of our Local Legends are remarkable people that devote their time to creating a stronger community, it has been the hardest thing to select an overall winner,” he said.

“It was impossible for us to pick between the three – nobody wanted to make a decision, so in the end we just put it down to the numbers … it was just too tough. 

“It could have been all three of them. They are all lovely people and have all been really enthusiastic about the whole thing.”

Mr McGregor said Brian is the epitome of a local legend and is very deserving of the title.

“He’s a wonderful bloke. He’s put in a huge amount of his own time to the Bellata community over the years,” he said.

“Brian was extremely humble. He was quite shocked when we told him, he nearly fell off his chair.”

Having been living in Bellata for more than 50 years, Brian has been heavily involved in the Bellata Golf Club and Bellata Fire Brigade and has always been passionate about the local community.

He’s thrilled to be able to donate his $5,000 Local Legends winnings to the Bellata War Memorial Hall committee to renovate the old kitchen.

“I’m quite happy about that,” he said.

“It needs doing badly.

“[The $5,000] will be a big start.”

Brian thanked all who supported him throughout the Local Legends campaign.

“I would like to say thank you to all those wonderful people who replied by Facebook – it went a long way to making me a winner,” he said.

“A special thank you to McGregor Gourlay for sponsoring the award, it was very generous of them.”

The Local Legends campaign proved to be an outstanding success overall with more than 100,000 views across the five nominees’ Facebook videos, which were created by Rabbit Hop Films.

“We were a bit blown away – it exceeded our expectations,” Mr McGregor said.

“It’s put the district in a really positive light.”

Mr McGregor thanked all who were involved in the Local Legends campaign, helping McGregor Gourlay celebrate 120 years in business.

“We thank you Brian Nairn, Don Quast, Penny Boydell, Clem Gordon and Warwick Bedford for your dedication to your community, it wouldn’t be the same without your involvement,” he said.

“Being a part of these wonderful communities is and will continue to be our greatest blessing, we wouldn’t have been here for 120 years without you, so thanks again everyone.”

While Brian was crowned the overall Local Legend, all five of McGregor Gourlay’s Local Legends finalists ended up winners.

Thanks to Pacific Seeds – Australia and Dow AgroSciences LLC all five finalists received something to give back to their respective local communities.

Brian Nairn received the big cheque of $5,000 which will go towards renovating the kitchen at the Bellata War Memorial Hall.

Meanwhile the two runners-up, Moree’s Penny Boydell and Crooble’s Don Quast, received $3,000 for their chosen charities – Moree Town and Country Club and Moree Men’s Shed.

Warialda’s Clem Gordon and Inverell’s Warwick Bedford, who made the final five, also didn’t walk home empty handed with $1,000 each for the Warialda Community Fund and Sands Australia.

To view each of the finalists videos and more, go to McGregor Gourlay’s website, www.mcgregorgourlay.com.au, or Facebook page www.facebook.com/mcgregorgourlay/