Despite 2020 being a year most people would like to forget, the Gloucester Australia Day Committee are determine to celebrate those who have made a difference in the community.
Ahead of the big day on Tuesday, January 6 at Gloucester Showground, the committee has released the names of all the nominees for the community awards.
Local Citizen of the Year nominees:
Ashleigh Hickman - Ashleigh has proven to be a valuable volunteer and member of the community devoting her energies into many projects and community groups including Probus, the croquet club and on the barbecue at the farmers markets. She has been a mentor at the high school and assisted with the reading group each week and was part of the interview committee for the selection of the school captains. She has been a member of Rotary for many years and held the positions of president and secretary on a number of occasions and is currently the Rotary bulleting editor. She is currently a member of the Rotary District Committee and is the chair for Interplast and Rotary Against Malaria, travelling many miles to attend meetings. Ashleigh completed training as a palliative care volunteer and cares for residents when needed. For many years Ashleigh volunteered as a member on the committee during the Shakespeare festivals which were very successful in Gloucester.
Di Relf - Di has been instrumental in the establishment of the Gloucester Community Shop which has been a lifeline for many residents and has provided donations in excess of $50,000 to many local community groups and organisations and individuals in need, including domestic violence victims, homeless residents, fire relief, flood relief and drought relief. Di is an active member of the Gloucester District Tennis Association, organising the tennis competitions, running the kitchen and is the tennis club's representative on the sports committee attending regular monthly meetings. She assists with Meals on Wheels, is a member of the Gloucester Garden Club and has volunteered at the Gloucester Show. Di has dedicated her time and energy to provide incredible support to many community groups and improved the lives of many and is an inspiration to the community.
Li Meng Wong - Li is a very caring and valuable member of our community and an essential part of the fabric that makes up this town. She plays a key role as a local pharmacist providing care and valuable advice and a shoulder when needed for all local residents. Li is always available to the community and encourages people in the community to be their best and guides them to make better decisions. She is also the president of the Rotary Club of Gloucester and goes above and beyond of what she is asked to help others. She is very dedicated and deserving and is a leader in the community.
Sarah Fulton and Caitlin Tonelli - Sarah and Caitlin have been the organisers of the Gloucester Farmers Markets since 2019 and have volunteered their time, dedicating themselves to keep the markets going during many challenges. Drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19 have affected the markets and the producers and stallholders but Sarah and Caitlin pushed to keep this essential event alive for the town. They are committed to supporting the producers and stallholders and are exploring new opportunities to attract more visitors to the town and the markets. They are aiming to launch and deliver a line-up of new events, workshops, guest speakers and demonstrations under the umbrella of the Gloucester Farmers Markets. Sarah and Caitlin also created the Gloucester Seed Savers which promotes the exchange of locally adapted non-hybrid seeds which encouraged locals to grow their own fresh produce. Sarah and Caitlin have shown they are passionate about the community and support the local growers and stallholders.
Local Young Citizen of the Year nominee:
Charles Tonks - Charles has achieved a lot in his 16 years, including developing his musical skills, performing and volunteering at Carols by Candlelight and the Gloucester Farmers Markets and aims to start guitar lessons for children in 2021. He started playing soccer at age five receiving Player of the Year and Best and Fairest in 2018 and 2020, and Goalie of the Year in 2019. He volunteers as a referee and helps with the set up before games. He has been a successful member of the Thunderbolts Swimming Club and represented the high school and public school at Zone Swimming Carnivals and was named Champion Boy Swimmer in 2017. He's received the Harold and Graeme Breese Memorial Trophy for commitment and dedication and volunteered to set up on club nights. He achieved his Bronze Medallion in 2020 to become a lifeguard. When he came across an elderly gentleman at Barrington River who was suffering from hypothermia Charles administered first aid until the ambulance arrived.
Local Project of the Year nominees:
Gloucester Charities - COVID Support - During the very difficult times of COVID, including the restrictions and loss of employment and income for many residents, Gloucester Charities members handed out Woolworths Essentials vouchers to those in need in the community to purchase essential food items for their families. Gloucester Charities members actively reached out to those residents who they knew had lost their jobs and income to let them know that help was available which was invaluable support to many residents in a time of uncertainty and instability. This was a vital service that assisted residents with their mental and physical health and general welfare.
Rotary Club of Gloucester - Revamping Ted Woolford Park - Rotary Club volunteers recently revamped Ted Woolford Park by cleaning up the gardens, painting the rotunda and erecting new signage. With COVID restrictions it was difficult for the club to complete projects but they painted and spruced up the signs which are situated at the entrances into Gloucester making them more welcoming to visitors showing they are proud of their town and its surrounds.
Local Community Business of the Year nominees:
Gloucester Community Shop - The Gloucester Community Shop is run by a group of volunteers and has been a valuable addition to the community with profits raised providing assistance to many community groups. They have also helped individual families, including domestic violence victims, and more recently donated $6500 to 57 Gloucester after the tragic fire destroyed the café. They donated wool to residents who knit knee rugs for nursing home residents, making 70 rugs so far. They are an exceptional group donating approximately $50,000 to over 40 causes.
Fuz Designs Graphic Design Services - This small business was created in 2018 and it benefited many along the way. Aside from Lauren McRae's paid work she has provided her graphic design skills to the CWA (of which she is a member), Gloucester Charities, The Gift of Life Foundation Charity and local dairy events for free or at a significantly reduced rate. Lauren undertakes work with local charities in a quiet way and doesn't seek public recognition she just wants to benefit the community and to see local businesses thrive.
The Australia Day event is due to take place from 8am at the Gloucester Showground.