On Tuesday 17th October 2023, the Lions Club of Bright, Lions Ladies, guests and representatives of the McGillivray family gathered at the Bright Lions Club rooms for the presentation of the Max McGillivray Award to Mrs Marilyn Stephens.

The award was first presented in 2009 in memory of Max McGillivray.

Max was a Shire Councillor for several years, but he was also incredibly community minded and the go-to man for those needing assistance – his willingness to respond to requests from individuals and community organisations with whom he had no membership connection was well known, hence his recognition by both Lions and Rotary for his service to his community.

The Max McGillivray Award (a perpetual award, a personal plaque and $1000 for donation to a charity of the recipient’s choice) was established by the Lions Club of Bright to in turn recognise and celebrate the exceptional humanitarian contribution of an individual within the community, and is presented to the recipient by a representative of the family which again this year will be by his wife Lynne, with his daughter Robyn also in attendance.

This year the selection panel unanimously agreed that the award should be presented to well-known local identity Marilyn Stephens. Marilyn is probably best known for her many years working at Dicken’s Real Estate in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and for being the ‘go to person’ at the Bright Public Cemetery Trust.

Marilyn was invited to attend the Lions dinner as a guest speaker, but unbeknown to her, an additional reason for inviting her to the meeting was to present her with this year’s Max McGillivray award.  

During her entertaining and informative speech, Marilyn shared a snapshot of the Cemetery’s history, recounted her many years as secretary of the Bright Cemetery Trust, and went on to give an interesting glimpse into what is required in running the Cemetery.

A most worthy recipient of the Award, Marilyn has been a member and also Secretary of the Bright Public Cemetery Trust, far exceeding the requirements of the voluntary position she continues to hold.  For the entire 30 plus years she has been involved with the Trust, she continues to assist families not only in the initial stages of their loved one’s internment and time of great sadness, but she will also follow up weeks and months later to ensure families are coping as well as could be expected in such difficult circumstances. She ensures that at Christmas, Easter and Mother’s and Father’s Days, the gate is open so the families of loved ones can enter with ease, returning in the evening to close them again.

In addition, Marilyn was also a Sunday school teacher for the Uniting Church throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, and is a much-respected church member, still fundraising until 2019 and serving morning tea at the Church on Friday mornings.  She was part of the PALS group, a member of the Bright Fire Brigade Women’s Auxillary, a tireless worker for the Bright Kindergarten, an active member of the Bright Apex Club, and a member of the Probus Clubs (one of which she is currently still Secretary)

Marilyn is an extremely humble and modest community member who contribution to those at a time when kindness and compassion have a lasting and profound effect, shows her love for the community in which she lives.

She is epitome of the Max McGillivray Award, and the presentation of this award is acknowledgement and thanks for the wonderful contribution she has made and, continues to make to her community.