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2021 Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year Hayley Talbot, spoke passionately while delivering an inspirational and empowering speech to the Grafton Christ Church Cathedral congregation, which included students from Clarence Valley Anglican School (CVAS) during the weekend. Image: Emma Pritchard

Sunday service with an inspirational guest speaker

Emma Pritchard

It doesn’t normally happen in a place of worship, but after Hayley Talbot delivered a passionate, inspirational and motivational speech at the Grafton Christ Church Cathedral on February 14, a round of applause followed.

After recently being announced as the 2021 Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year, Ms Talbot was invited to speak to the congregation, which included several Year 11 and 12 students from Clarence Valley Anglican School (CVAS) over the weekend, by the Very Reverend Dr Greg Jenks, Dean of Grafton.

Standing proudly at the pulpit, Ms Talbot shared her insights, specifically of putting values into action and making a difference in the local community.

She encouraged people to do small things with great love, to put others first, and she spoke of how good cannot compete against good.

She spoke of family, spirituality, love, joy, and caramel slice.

“For me, the very first time I decisively practiced putting others first was with my little brother down at the beach,” Ms Talbot recalled.

“Dad had cut a caramel slice in half and offered the whole slice to me to choose first.

“I chose the smaller piece so my brother could have the larger piece and joy flooded my heart when I saw his face.

“These are small moments of great love and they reside in putting others before yourself.”

Ms Talbot said it was lovely to be invited to speak at the Christ Church Cathedral and hopes her speech will open the doorway for more conversations and more connections.

She also said it was a real pleasure to have her husband and young sons in the congregation as she spoke.

“I just shared what I have in my head, which is do small things with great love,” she said.

“When we feel overwhelmed by the world, and it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and disempowered and when I get like that, I just bring it all back down to doing small things with great love and there’s greatness in those moments.”

CVAS Year 12 student Melissa Davies described Ms Talbot’s speech as “really inspirational.”

As a House Captain at her school, Miss Davies said Ms Talbot’s words encouraged her to grow her leadership skills and to help others.

“I want to do more in my role as a leader at my school to help and encourage others to always do their best,” she said.

While acknowledging the CVAS students, Ms Talbot encouraged them to “find their good” and be their best at it.

“Know that whatever it is you apply your purely intended heart to, it will be good enough,” she said with a smile.

“There is so much pressure in the world today and we can often feel suffocated by the projections of others through a picture of how our lives should be and worse, we can feel suffocated by the projections of ourselves and the pressure we place ourselves under, to do and be of a scale we think we should be capable of executing on.

“I encourage you in these moments to keep it simple, think of the caramel slice.”

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