The Macleay Valley’s 2017 Australia Day award winners announced

Media release - 25 January 2017

A number of outstanding citizens and groups were recognised for their contributions to the community at the 2017 Australia Day Eve Awards ceremony on Wednesday night.

Held at the Slim Dusty Centre at South Kempsey, Mayor Liz Campbell together with our Australia Day Ambassador, Nic Newling, congratulated the four recipients and presented them with their certificates.

The 2017 winners are:

Citizen of the Year - Sonya Murphy

Sonya is a quiet achiever who has worked tirelessly over many years volunteering for several local sporting clubs such as 32 years in administrative and leading roles with the Macleay Netball Association. Sonya has also held positions supporting Smithtown Junior League Club, Lower Macleay Magpies Rugby League Club, Kempsey Little Athletics and the Macleay Valley Diabetes Group.

Young Citizen of the Year - Drew Walsh

Drew has proven to be a true role model for the youth of the Macleay Valley through his leadership at school, within agriculture, sport, and scouting. He has led workshops on safe driving and passenger behaviour for both high school and primary school students and was awarded a John Lincoln Youth Community Service Award by the Order of Australia Association in 2016.

Volunteer of the Year - Frank Oakes

Every week for the past seven years Mr Oakes has volunteered his time, playing piano to entertain residents at Vincent Court, Booroongen Djugun Aged Care Facility, Parklands Cottage, the Kempsey Carers Group at the Catholic Hall and the Kempsey Pensioners Hall.

Community Group of the Year - Riding for the Disabled Kempsey-Macleay

Since its inception in 2005, Riding for the Disabled Kempsey-Macleay has been enriching the lives of people living with a disability. Each week, a group of dedicated volunteers teach students from four local schools, pre-school children, and adults how to ride, as well as other horse related activities at the Kempsey Showground.

Cr Campbell congratulated the winners and all of this year’s nominees for their contributions.

“Our community benefits greatly from their tireless efforts, as they go out of their way to donate their time without seeking recognition. These awards are a chance for us to formally acknowledge them and say thankyou.”

2017 Australia Day Awards recipients: Drew Walsh, Sonya Murphy, Frank Oakes The Macleay’s 2017 Young Citizen of the Year Drew Walsh, Citizen of the Year Sonya Murphy, and Volunteer of the Year Frank Oakes