Sportsperson and Citizen of the Year nominees for Great Lakes

Great Lakes Australia Day 2015 Citizen of the Year nominees and Sportsperson of the Year nominees


Nominations for the Australia Day 2015 awards have now closed.

Great Lakes Council last week released the list which includes many names from all around our local area.

Two young people from Bulahdelah have been nominated in the Young Citizen of the Year category, Karl Price and Ellie Gooch.

In the Citizen of the Year category local names include,  Yvonne O’Donnell from Tea Gardens, Gordon Grainger from Tea Gardens, John Bowen from Stroud, Judy Dixon from Bulahdelah and Jill McSweeney from Smiths Lake.



(4 nominations)

Amber Hargreaves, Forster

Amber joined Riding for the Disabled about 4 years ago and has gone above and beyond all expectations.  She has also studied to become a coach and although legally blind, Amber teaches with a sighted person.  In 2013 she won State rider Dressage competition and came second in 2014. Amber was voted Manning Great Lakes Riding for the Disabled Rider of the Year.


Jay Withers, Forster

Jay is another talented sportsman and athlete, representing Great Lakes College, and the Manning Under 19s, in cricket.  Jay also represents the North Coast Under 17s in cricket.  He is an all-round sportsman and a quality team player, proving to be an outstanding representative of our community.

Two (2) additional nominations have been received, however information is not available for publication at this time.



(3 nominations)

Zac Withers, Forster

Zac is an all-round participant and contributor to sport and referees in a variety of sports.  He also coaches, volunteers and assists in many aspects.  Zac has represented Great Lakes College in cricket, but is holistically involved in all aspects.  Zac is community minded and can be relied upon to set a positive example.  He is a very active member of this community and is very supportive of young, up and coming athletes.


Karl Price, Bulahdelah

Karl is Vice Captain of Bulahdelah Central School and is an active, supportive and mature young man.  He has been selected to attend the National Youth Science Forum at Canberra University, which is why Karl cannot join with us today.  Karl is also on the School’s Student Representative Council and a Foundation Member, and Treasurer for Bulahdelah’s Leos’ Club (junior Lions).


Ellie Gooch, Bulahdelah

Ellie is an exceptional young lady and ambassador for Bulahdelah Central School.  She is kind, considerate, laughing and thoughtful.  Ellie was a recent recipient of the Pierre De Doubertin Award, an award symbolising the ideals of the Olympics.  A very prestigious award to win!  Ellie is also a volunteer with the Bulahdelah Health Advisory Committee, as well as a member of the Student Representative Council and a leader in the School’s Leo Club (junior Lions).



(16 nominations)

Mr Jody Grimmond, Tuncurry

An enthusiastic, happy traffic controller affectionately known as a “lollipop” man, thoroughly enjoys his job.  His job must, at times be pretty boring and mundane, but Jody has found that by communicating with the people in the cars that are stopped, it makes his job, and no doubt, the occupants of cars, much happier at being delayed.  Jody truly epitomises true Australian spirit by his positive contribution.


Heather Harman, Forster

Heather has made a significant contribution to the Great Lakes Hospice since its inception in 2002.  She is a member on the Management and Auxiliary Committees and Chair of the Auxiliary Committee.  Heather plays a key role in organising many fundraising events.


Yvonne O’Donnell, Tea Gardens

Yvonne is a tower of strength in the aged care organisation in the Tea Gardens Hawks Nest area.  A tireless cook, Yvonne has delivered meals for Meals on Wheels for 13 years, Neighbour Aid and the Myall Dolphins.  She is secretary of the Red Cross and a member of the Breakfast Club at Tea Gardens School, looking after 50 plus children.  Yvonne is also a caller for Telecross, checking on the welfare of the elderly.


John Bowen, Stroud

John was the inaugural Chairman of the Stroud Community Lodge Inc, a residential aged care facility which is one of the largest employers in the region.  John has spent 28 years chairing meetings of the lodge as well as driving the lodge bus.  John is happiest when he is helping others.


Rosslyn Dreise, Forster

Rosslyn is current Chairman of the Great Lakes Hospice Auxiliary, and a fundraiser for the Hospice and Cancer Council.  As well as this work Rosslyn has supported junior golf since 2002, helps with Forster Primary School Band, the Stephanie Alexander good food programme, while also assisting children with special learning difficulties at Tuncurry Primary School.  Rosslyn has recently written a book about growing up in Gloucester, and is in the process of writing another book to provide children with a greater understanding of bowel cancer.  In short, Rosslyn has an enthusiasm for life and a love of learning.


Kel McCredie, Elizabeth Beach

Kel is the President of the Pacific Palms Surf Life Saving Club and trains the Bronze Medallion Squad (2 squads per season).  He is a Corrective Community Services Mentor, runs Vitamin Sea training and Nippers Technique Training.  He recently won the Australian Gold Medal in the flags.  Kel is instrumental in bringing events to the community, such as Rock to Rock and Battle of the Boats.  He has been awarded Coach of the Year (last five years) from Lower North Coast Surf Life Saving Branch and also awarded National Surf Life Saving Rescue of the Month – May 2014 and Rescue of the Month – October 2013.  Kel’s rapport with people of all ages makes him well respected in the community and has a natural ability to make you smile.


Deborah Niblett, Tuncurry

Deborah has volunteered on a regular basis for Ageing and Disability Services since 2007. She has consistently worked for the Neighbour Aid program, taking socially isolated elderly people for lunch outings, movies, shopping and for coffee and companionship.  Deborah regularly takes clients to medical appointments in Forster and Taree.  She provides an important part in the life of many of our local residents, providing practical and personal support.


Margaret Blackwood, Green Point

Margaret has been actively involved in the Green Point Association; initially preparing and circulating the Green Point Association newsletter.  From 2007-2014 Margaret was President of the Association.  Margaret oversaw improvements to the Green Point Community Hall; from conception to completion.  Margaret is the “go to” person for many residents seeking information, advice and support.


Bob Symington, Forster Keys

Bob’s life is all about music – he has been a teacher for over 35 years at Pacific Palms, Forster, Tuncurry, Nabiac and Taree.  Bob is an “extra mile” kind of person who has spent countless hours working with HSC students, and showing endless patience, working with the very young, and the not so young, totalling 900-1000 students.  Bob treats everyone with dignity and respect and is an extremely proud and patriotic Australian, who loves the area he lives in – and why wouldn’t he!


Gordon Grainger, Tea Gardens

Gordon has made a significant contribution to the community in regard to health of the Myall River.  He formed the Myall River Action Group to liaise with Council and State and Federal Governments concerning funding for dredging.  Gordon is a community representative on the Port Stephens Estuary Management Committee.  Gordon has constantly given his time and his home to these endeavours and is to be commended for his commitment to the community.


Judy Dixon, Bulahdelah

Judy is involved with the local Lions Club for Driver/Reviver. ordering supplies and working on Driver/Reviver locally.  She manages the local post office at Bulahdelah which is a hub of community involvement.  Judy has shown she is truly a caring and sharing person.


Mrs Noel Moore, Forster

Noel is actively involved with Riding for the Disabled and Forster Croquet Club.  She has been coach with Riding for the Disabled since 2003; coaching two full days per week.  Noel was involved in the planning of the Club in its infancy and promoted this in the community.  Her willingness to share her time and knowledge with others, and to promote riding for the disabled is outstanding.  Thank you Noel for what you do for your community and Riding for the Disabled.


Nyaree Donnelly, Green Point

Nyaree is a tireless volunteer while promoting local music and art.  She is part of the Great Lakes Arts Network Cultural Awards promoting the arts as well as Board Member of Arts Mid North Coast.  Nyaree is focussed locally, working hands-on at each event and was involved in the recent Lakes Art Festival.


Joy and Beau Burt, Forster

Jointly volunteer for Ageing and Disability Services since 2000.  Initially Joy and Beau began with Meals on Wheels.  Since that time they have provided home respite for young people with disabilities in their own home, sometimes up to 3-4 people at a time.  They also take young disabled people on outings such as trips to Sydney and Canberra for up to one week. They also support elderly people in centre respite activities, assisting with meal services and bbqs. These two are the backbone of local services, give freely of themselves constantly, have hearts of gold and are always reliable and willing to help.


Jill McSweeney, Smiths Lake

Jill is known for her great involvement in netball in the Great Lakes and Pacific Palms over 25 years.  Not only player, coach, umpire and registrar, but roles as President in both groups.  Jill is Chair of the Smiths Lake Recreation Committee, as well as running her own hair dressing salon full time.


One (1) additional nomination has been received, however information is not available for publication at this time.


Next weeks edition will see special interviews on some of the local nominees by Nathalie Craig. 

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