The 2020 Clarence Valley Australia Day Award ceremony was held on Thursday night at the Yamba Golf and Country Club.
The winners and nominees were recognised for their enormous contributions to Clarence Valley life.
The calibre of nominees for the Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year was so high the panel presented two awards this year.
Valley Citizen of the Year – Bob Carnaby
Bob always assists people in need and learns new skills to help them out. He established a branch of “The Lab” (a technology club for young people with autism/aspergers) which Bob runs on weekends. He is a volunteer stroke ambassador for The Stroke Foundation and travels between towns delivering presentations on stroke prevention. He is the only volunteer of this sort within more than 400km radius. He provides support for cancer survivors through the Cancer Council’s Survivorship Enrichment Program and is an active member of the Ngerrie Land Council and Aboriginal Men’s Group.
Citizen of the Year – Bob Carnaby
“I didn’t feel I deserved it as there are so many volunteers in the valley both nominated – as well as those who weren’t nominated, that were probably all deserving. But I respect the institution (Citizen of the Year Awards) and what it represents and I’m humbled by it.“
Valley Citizen of the Year – Patrick Connelly
For the past 50 years Pat has been helping the community of the Grafton/Clarence/Coffs area with his charity work including a Red Rock and Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving volunteer, Grafton Hockey Assoc, Youth of the Streets mentor, Youth Suicide Prevention program mentor, Jacaranda Festival volunteer and ‘Dame Edna’ impersonator, Aboriginal Youth mentor and Grafton U3A member. Patrick is a ‘larger than life’ identity throughout the Clarence Valley. Awarded an OAM 2019.
Citizen of the Year – Patrick Connelly
“It was unbelievable to receive the award. I mean it’s something that you don’t expect, you don’t even think about it, but when something like this happens – it’s a real buzz. It makes you want to work harder I think – that’s the way I look at it. There are a lot of people who work hard that don’t get recognised, so I want to recognise them too.”
Clarence Valley Young Citizen of the Year – Eden Annesley
Eden has made a significant contribution to the local community through her leadership as Concert Master of Clarence Valley Orchestra & Chorus, in Grafton which presents annual Proms concerts during the Jacaranda Festival, Anzac concerts and Carols by Candlelight. She is an outstanding player at such a young age and is a great asset to the orchestra. Eden demonstrates excellence in her field as she has achieved an incredibly high standard of achievement for her age attaining the Associate in Music, Australia (AMusA) in Violin, a diploma awarded by examination to outstanding candidates in the fields of musical performance and music theory by the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) and Grade 8 AMEB in Piano. She is currently studying for AMusA in Piano. Eden represents the Clarence Valley further afield as a member of the Regional Youth Orchestra NSW, a group of selected regional musicians from 17 NSW Regional Conservatoriums. They play under the guidance of many international conductors. Eden is poised to become an outstanding professional musician, whose development and association with the Clarence Valley will be strongly acknowledged.
Valley Local Hero Award – Norma Jenkins
Norma is 89 years old and visits the Mareeba Aged Care facility weekly, and has done so for the past 9 years, distributing chocolates, fruit, lollies and magazines to different groups and conversing with as many residents as time allows. Norma used to drive her car to Mareeba, experiencing difficulty in walking to the entrance but she solved the problem by purchasing a motorised scooter so she could continue her weekly visits. Norma is a very generous person who always puts her family and the Mareeba Aged Care residents’ comfort before her own.
Valley Community Group Achievement Award – The Yamba Lions Club
The Yamba Lions Club is dedicated to serving their community. They continually support the local community by way of fundraising such as bingo and raffles at various Clubs in Yamba, food vans, street markets, food festivals, preparing and serving over 170 meals for Yamba Seniors Week and they provide train sets and merry-go-rounds when requested.
Cr Greg Clancy was MC for the event with the awards being presented by Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis.
Special thanks to Cr Greg Clancy the 2020 Australia Day advocate as well as the Selection Committee members Joy de Roos and Amanda Carney.