General News

Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year Awards

The Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year Awards highlight the local unsung heroes of the region that make our communities a better place to live.

The achievements of residents both young and old and community groups are recognised in four categories; Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Local Hero and Community Group Achievement Award, nominated by fellow locals.

The awards, to be held in Grafton at 10am on Wednesday, January 25, will also be combined with an Australian Citizenship Ceremony. 

Citizen of the Year nominees –

 Adam Wills (nominated by Helen Tucker)

Adam has been recognised for all the work he does in the community. Adam volunteered as Musical Director for Grafton’s two theatres, increasing collaboration and delivering memorable sold-out performances. Adam is a hands-on leader who shows initiative and leads by ‘doing’ rather than ‘talking’. He has great rapport, particularly with younger students, yet he maintains high standards and strives for excellence in whatever he does. He is an excellent multi-tasker.

Doreen Plymin (nominated by Trevor Plymin)

Doreen is a founding member of the Women’s Shed at Townsend and has helped grow membership from six to more than 50. She also volunteers with Red Cross Lower Clarence Emergency Services and is a member of the RFS Catering Brigade assisting to provide meals during the fire season for frontline firefighters. Doreen also volunteers at the Baptist Church Op Shop every Wednesday and assists in catering for the Maclean RSL Sub-Branch following every meeting.

Barbara Winters (nominated by Louise Jones)

Barbara has supported the Ashby community and surrounds since the devastating 2019-2020 bushfires. She initiated a Facebook group to support, inform and communicate with residents, businesses, SES and fire services. Barbara is deputy chairperson of the Ashby Hall Reserve, founded the Ashby Nature Discovery Project and applied for grants to fund projects and workshops to aid in bushfire recovery.

Sally Anne Rogers (nominated by Rhonda Green)

Sally is the heart and soul, and owner of Happy Paws Haven. She never euthanises a sociable, healthy or treatable dog or cat, whatever their age, and gives them a haven to be loved until a home is found, no matter how long it takes. Sally and the volunteers at Happy Paws Haven work tirelessly to clean, care for and interact with the animals – this gives the animals a purpose in life and helps rehabilitate them back with other families.

Young Citizen of the Year nominees –

Charlie Rose Beadman (nominated by Robyn Smith)

Charlie has been doing amazing things in our community for many years. For years she volunteered at Dougherty Villa Nursing Home, visiting on Tuesdays to offer companionship, friendship and other assistance. Charlies’ passion for making jewellery with clay has led to her recent venture of making jewellery and becoming involved with fundraising for research organisation Breast Cancer Trials. In one month, she created 650 pairs of love heart earrings from polymer clay which when sold raised $3,303 for the Breast Cancer Trials foundation.

Nicole Cowling (nominated by Pru Ensby)

Nicole has done many great things over the years in the Lower Clarence community through her involvement with the Maclean Show Society and Maclean Scottish Association. Nicole has achieved the honour of representing the Maclean Show as Junior Showgirl and Senior Showgirl. She helps organise the Highland Gathering dance section, which has been incredible. Nicole was successful in obtaining a scholarship with the ‘Next Gen’ to represent and participate in the annual NSW/QLD Ag Shows Conference.

Local Hero nominees –

Sally Anne Rogers (nominated by Rhonda Green and Ryan Sampson)

Sally and the volunteers at Happy Paws Haven have actively worked with individuals and families, either short term or long term, to be there when nobody else can help them. The dogs are kept in large, grassed yards, not cement floor cages, and the cats are housed in large catteries where they wander freely, interacting with their own kind.

Bruce Baxter (nominated by Steven McLennan)

Bruce taught at South Grafton High School for his entire career. He is a life member of South Services Cricket Club and the Clarence River Cricket Association. He umpires as a member of the NSW Cricket and Umpires Scorers Association. He has played, coached and umpired cricket in the Clarence Valley for nearly 60 years and will continue to do so until he is unable to.

Bruce is a valued member of our community for his involvement and timeless manner.

Mick Rogan (nominated by Steven McLennan)

Mick is devoted to serving the community. He is always keen to help others in any way he can, though his main contribution has been with the Rural Fire Service (RFS) where he is presently captain of the Grafton City Rural Fire Brigade (RFB). Mick has been an inspirational captain for Grafton City RFB showing excellent leadership within the brigade and more widely across our RFS region during difficult situations. He sets an example for those of us who are still learning how to be an effective firefighter. He is one of those responsible for the RFS cadet program run by Grafton City RFB and in September took the cadets to the state championships where they achieved third place.

Peter Martin (nominated by Pamela Gauci)

Peter has devoted many hours to croquet. He is at his local club most days – mowing lawns, weeding and organising working bees. He has applied for funding, so the club was able to improve the lawns and buy playing equipment. Peter’s dedication has been unwavering, even after suffering a stroke and being unable to drive, he walked a good distance from his home to the club so he could mow the lawns. Since his stroke Peter has used his life experience to encourage other stroke victims to come along and try this user-friendly sport.

Warren Dawson (nominated by CVC Communication Team) Members of the Clarence Valley Council Communications team have nominated Warren Dawson due to his extremely helpful nature during several incidents in the February/March flood event. One incident involved a water main break at Iluka during the peak of the recent flood event. Warren did not hesitate to go above and beyond to fix the water main burst, which forced water 20 metres into the air. At the time Warren was cut off from his home in Iluka. Clarence Valley

Council staff were very thankful and appreciative for the support and help.

Robyn McCabe (nominated by Sally Rogers)

Robyn has been a volunteer at Happy Paws Haven for the past five years. Through all the ups and downs the organisation has faced, she has been there. Every week she looks after and cares for the cats and kittens in care. There have been times when she and her husband have fostered a litter of kittens and a cat with additional needs. She is the Donor Program manager and assists with marketing including managing emails. The current Vice President of Happy Paws Haven, Robyn is very much an unsung local hero due to her work ethic.

Community Achievement nominees –

Kids in Capes Pty Ltd (nominated by Zoe Goodsell)

Kids in Capes Pty Ltd is a local charity aimed at raising funds for the Grafton Base Hospital (GBH) Children and Adolescent’s Ward. For the past two years Kids in Capes has created a calendar to raise awareness of children living with disabilities and additional needs in the Clarence Valley area. The profits from the sale of these calendars are donated to the GBH Children’s Ward. Kids in Capes won the Mid North Coast Greater Bank Community Grant and is working with the nursing staff to organise and fund parent and carer meals on the ward. Earlier in the year, Kids in Capes organised three drives for the flood victims of the Northern Rivers.

Happy Paws Haven (nominated by Rhonda Green and Ryan Sampson)

Happy Paws Haven was nominated twice in this category. The organisation is different from other rescue centres for several reasons. They are a no-kill shelter, committing to every animal in their care until they can find the right home for them, no matter how long it takes. They will never euthanise a sociable, healthy or treatable companion animal. No animal leaves Happy Paws Haven without being desexed, immunised, microchipped, treated for common parasites and vet checked.

24 Grafton Army Cadet Unit (nominated by Jan Brodie)

The Grafton Cadets are consistently volunteering their time to help out in our community. Helping at many different events including Maclean Highland Gathering, commemorative services, Australia Day celebrations, March of Youth, family events, markets, fun runs, visiting nursing homes, school events, dragon boat events, the Grafton Jacaranda Festival and many more. The constant dedication and support these young people contribute to our community is something that should never be overlooked. They show great strength, willingness, community service and fundraising efforts. The cadet program is enabled and supported by the Australian Army and shares the same goals, values and partnerships to mentor and shape young people.

Source: CVC Communications