CONGRATULATIONS: Spencer “Spenny” Slatter accepts a medal “for service to horse racing in senior roles at the Gympie Turf Club and regional racing bodies, and to the community of Gympie through involvement in a significant number of local community organisations” at Government House in Brisbane yesterday.
CONGRATULATIONS: Spencer “Spenny” Slatter accepts a medal “for service to horse racing in senior roles at the Gympie Turf Club and regional racing bodies, and to the community of Gympie through involvement in a significant number of local community organisations” at Government House in Brisbane yesterday. Rae Wilson

Slatter honoured with OAM

WHILE Spencer Slatter might usually prefer to serve his community behind the scenes, he was squarely in the limelight at Government House in Brisbane yesterday.

Last, but far from least, he was called to appear before Governor Paul de Jersey to receive the Order of Australia medal for his service to horse racing in senior roles at the Gympie Turf Club and regional racing bodies.

The medal also served as gratitude for his hard work for the Gympie community through a significant number of local community organisations - including Rotary, the Show Society and the Roadcraft Driver Education board.

Mr Slatter, a former council CEO, helped rescue the region's racing industry, joining the renewed Gympie Turf Club committee in 2001 and presiding over it from 2003.

He said there were nine meets a year, mostly attracting locals but drawing crowds from the Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay and sometimes buses from Brisbane.

"I got involved in racing when the club got into severe financial troubles about 15 years back," he said after receiving his award.

"I think (the industry's) got a bright future, it's not always smooth sailing, but we've had exceptional meetings this year, really strong crowds.

"But you've got to work hard at it. You've got to entertain people.

"It's as much about entertainment as it is about racing.

"We go big on fashions on the field and that always pulls a big crowd.

"We try little things all the time to tweak it and see if it works and if not move on to something else."

Mr Slatter said "one of the most satisfying things" in his community work was helping raise a million dollars locally to build a new multi-purpose show Pavilion at the Showgrounds.

"I was council CEO then but we did a lot of community fundraising which was a fair achievement in a place as small as Gympie," he said.

Mr Slatter said his community involvement began with his three children in kindergarten, preschool and then P&Cs.

He said his work in local government also exposed him to involvement in more community groups.

"I've always liked races, always liked country shows so I guess that's why I gravitate to those sorts of groups," he said.

Mr Slatter, who has three grandchildren and another on the way, said he was humbled to receive the award.

"It's good to know the work you do is appreciated but, as the Governor said, you don't set out to get recognition."

0- APN NEWSDESK