Saturday, April 9

It’s my great pleasure to be with you here in Loxton for your annual Mardi Gras, and to see so many members of the local community out enjoying the festivities.

I congratulate the Mardi Gras on reaching its 65th anniversary, making this morning’s parade one of the longest running in South Australia!

It was wonderful to see so many different groups and organisations represented in all their diversity in the parade this morning.

Some were very creative indeed!

And can I say how much I enjoyed my journey to the stage in Richard Wood’s beautifully restored 1925 Vintage Dodge?

This afternoon we have gathered to celebrate the role of volunteers in the Mardi Gras, particularly through its Ambassador program.

I commend the Loxton community for the strength of this program, in which mentors work with Ambassadors to support them with their personal development as they raise money for the local community.

From the primary school children, whose mentors are learning about how their town functions, and practising skills such as public speaking; to adults running fundraising activities such as picnics and sausage sizzles, to people in their nineties getting involved however they can – this program caters for everyone.

The age range of locals taking part is especially impressive and to be warmly commended, encouraging, as it does, active community participation at all stages of life.

As Governor, one of my priorities is to visit all the regional and rural areas of South Australia, and to get to know local people, their history and their community.

From my travels I am learning that the strength of so many country towns lies in their residents’ commitment to community service.

Through community service, people take ownership of, and pride in, the place they live, and are motivated to create a better town and region for all.

And through community service, whether through active design or just through normal human interaction, older generations can pass their knowledge and experience to the younger ones.

The Ambassador program is one of the strongest examples of community building I have seen.

I congratulate its participants and the Mardi Gras organising committee for its coordination and look forward to making presentations shortly.

There is much to celebrate!