Citizens celebrated for contributions to the community

The winners of the 2023 Port Stephens Annual Awards proudly display their certificates.

RECOGNISED for her vital work in the community, nurse Meagan Ambrose has been named the 2023 Port Stephens Citizen of the Year.

Meagan is a dedicated community care clinical nurse, a registered nurse and a passionate dementia nurse and advocate.

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Mayor Ryan Palmer announced the recipients at a civic ceremony this morning at Riverside Park, congratulating all the nominees for their contributions to our community.

“We’ve recognised Meagan as our Citizen of the Year for her extensive contributions to the community,” Mayor Palmer said.

“She’s actively involved in various community organisations including the Dementia and Memory Loss Activity Centre that she opened in 2022.

“During its first year of operation, the centre provided over 3,739 hours of respite to 25 clients, earning Meagan recognition from Dementia Australia for her passion and dedication to this important cause,” he added.

Meagan is one of six recipients of a Port Stephens Annual Award, with fifteen community members being nominated.

“The Port Stephens Annual Awards aim to acknowledge and celebrate the individuals in our community who go above and beyond in their efforts and contributions,” Mayor Palmer said.

“All the nominees are exceptional role models and leaders in the Port Stephens community, and it fills me with pride to be able to acknowledge and recognise their valuable contributions today.

“These outstanding individuals are nominated by their peers making these awards something to be very proud of.

“Our nominees are motivated by their love for our community and their passion for their work.

“It’s a pleasure to recognise their invaluable contributions in making Port Stephens the wonderful place it is.

“On behalf of the Councillors and the community – thank you to all our nominees for all that you do for our community,” he added.

The 2023 Port Stephens Annual Award recipients are:

Citizen of the Year – Meagan Ambrose

A registered nurse, community care clinical nurse, and wound care clinical nurse consultant who is also actively involved in various community organisations.

In 2022, she opened a Dementia and Memory Loss Activity Centre to provide much-needed respite for loved ones and carers.

The centre has already provided over 3,739 hours of respite to 25 clients in its first year of operation, earning Meagan recognition from Dementia Australia for her passion and dedication to this important cause.

Young Citizen of the Year – Abby Keeley

Abby is a remarkable young leader who continuously gives back to her community through her involvement in various organisations and charities.

As the Captain of Irrawang High School and a proactive member of the Council Youth Advisory Panel, Dance Xtreme, and Medowie Girl Guides, Abby is a true inspiration for those around her.

She’s also working towards her Queens Guide Award and will represent Girl Guides Australia at an International Leadership Program in India in January 2024.

Port Stephens Medal – Nelson Bay Cancer Patient Transport Group

This incredible group of more than 55 volunteers has been providing transport for cancer sufferers to Newcastle and Maitland metropolitan areas since 2012.

With 819 individual trips and over 88,380km driven, this group has been a lifeline for patients in need of treatment, scans, and medical appointments.

Not only do they provide essential transportation, but they also offer emotional support and social interactions, making the journey a little easier for those in need.

Sportsperson of the Year – Alice Mitchell

Alice is a young and accomplished athlete who has been a dedicated member of the Nelson Bay Touch Football Association for over a decade.

At just fifteen years of age, she proudly represented the state of New South Wales in Touch Football.

Alice is also a valued member of the Nelson Bay Netball Association and currently coaches a touch football squad, where she instils important values such as teamwork, confidence, and healthy life choices in her athletes.

Cultural Endeavour – Jacob Ridgeway

Jacob Ridgeway is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and performing artist who has used his music as a powerful platform to share his experiences and observations of life as a proud Worimi and Gamilaroi man.

With his debut single ‘Bullyman’ winning the 2019 National Indigenous Story Award Grand Prize and charting in the iTunes Alternative Chart and All Genres Chart, Jacob has performed alongside some of Australia’s biggest music names and earned critical acclaim.

Jacob also offers a unique creative writing course that uses music to foster creativity, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and practical writing skills in his students.

Environmental Award – Nelson Bay Civic Pride Group

This group is led by Margaret Wilkinson and her dedicated team of volunteers, Rory Milne, Ian Spight, and Judy Washington, have been voluntarily maintaining the gardens in Nelson Bay CBD since 2018.

Initiated by the Tomaree Business Chamber, now Business Port Stephens, this group ensures that the gardens are beautifully planted and maintained, providing a positive and visually stunning feature for both tourists and locals in Port Stephens.

Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer with 2023 Citizen of the Year, Meagan Ambrose.

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