Bellingen Shire Community Awards acknowledge local heroes

Bellingen Shire councillor Jo Brotherton, Citizen Of the Year Walter Tyson, Mayor Cr Steve Allan and emcee Sue Lennox AM.

BELLINGEN Shire’s 2024 Community Awards unfolded in a community ceremony at the Bellingen Memorial Hall on Thursday 25 January.

The evening began with a Welcome to Country from Gumbaynggirr Elder Michael ‘Micklo’ Jarrett and an official Citizenship Ceremony hosted by Bellingen Mayor Cr Steve Allan, followed by the Community Awards which recognised outstanding contributions to the community.

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The Community Awards night is a celebration that acknowledges local heroes who tirelessly work behind the scenes, fostering a connected, sustainable, and creative community in the Shire.

“We present these awards to acknowledge those who work relentlessly to make our Shire a better place,” Mayor Cr Allan said.

“We want the winners to understand that their efforts don’t go unnoticed and to express our gratitude to the people shaping our community.”

A strong turnout gathered at the Bellingen Memorial Hall to witness the celebration of individuals’ service to the community.

Citizen Of the Year Award went to Walter Tyson.

With 65 years of outstanding community service, Walter’s leadership and impact on organisations like the Urunga Anglers Club and Bellingen Lions Club are commendable, and at nearly 89, he continues to contribute actively.

Dorothy Carter received a Highly Commended for her tireless efforts in organising the Urunga Rail Centenary celebration and her commitment to community welfare and historical preservation.

The Young Citizen Of the Year Award recipient is Sam Daykin, recognised for his exemplary community contributions.

His work with OzGREEN, revitalising community engagement at the North Bank Community Gardens and active participation in projects like YOUthspeak and the Becoming U living libraries, showcases his dedication to a sustainable future in the Shire.

The Home Grown Heroes Award winners are Jack Mitchell and Max Sandstrom.

Responding to their friend Eden Buckingham’s tragic suicide, they embarked on a remarkable 700km run, raising over $20,000 for Beyond Blue.

Their resilience and commitment to youth mental health embody the spirit of true homegrown heroes.

Kerrie Nicol received a Highly Commended for her selfless dedication to Bellingen Hospital and raising $7,000 by recycling patient water bottles for the United Hospital Auxiliary.

The Sport and Recreation Award was shared by Caleb Daykin and Zac Young.

Caleb was honoured for his swimming achievements, while Zac received recognition for his dedication and achievements in rugby union and league.

A Highly Commended was awarded to Riley Humphreys for his outstanding achievements in cricket and AFL, becoming the youngest award winner at just fifteen years old.

The new Rising Star Recognition Award, aimed at acknowledging the work of the youth, recognised nine programs under the YOUth Speak initiative.

In wrapping up the awards, Mayor Cr Steve Allan extended his congratulations to all the winners and nominees, thanking them for their efforts in making the Shire a more special place.

He emphasised the importance of community nominations in identifying those who truly deserve recognition, noting the Shire’s 2024 Community Awards highlighted the remarkable individuals and groups shaping the Shire’s vibrant and caring community.

The nominations were contributed by the public, and the winners were selected by Shire councillors, reflecting the collective appreciation for the unsung heroes amongst the community.


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