Guyra Honours Local Citizens at Australia Day Ceremonies

Armidale Regional Council

Long-standing and leading citizens have been recognised in
this year’s Australia Day ceremonies in Guyra with Beth White honoured as Citizen
of the Year for 2023 at the annual awards dinner on Wednesday 25 January.

Beth White is a stand-out member of the local community
through her extensive volunteer work and significant contribution to the Guyra and
Ben Lomond communities.

Beth has spent decades volunteering in leading roles,
including Chairperson of Ben Lomond Landcare Group, Board member of Rural Lands
Protection Board, Member of Ben Lomond War Memorial Trust, Editor of Altitude
Living, P&C Member Ben Lomond Public School, Volunteer of ADRA Op Shop
Guyra, Volunteer at Guyra History Museum, Secretary of R.E.D.D New England and
an active community member of the Presbyterian Church.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Sam Coupland said Beth is incredibly
deserving of Citizen of the Year award.

“We want to honour, celebrate and cheer on these amazing
people who have been nominated by their community and who have been on a long journey
to help their communities. Those people who have set out to make this world a
better place through their generosity, expertise, sheer grit and tenacious
spirit.

“As a Council we cheer on these citizens, celebrating their
efforts and success, honouring them in public at Australia Day,” said Mayor
Coupland.

Mayor Sam Coupland was joined in Guyra by this year’s
Australia Day Ambassador, Jarrod Wheatley, to present the awards. Mr Wheatley
was the Young Australian of the Year in 2019, in recognition of his work with
youth, refugees and young people in out-of-home care. Jarrod has created two innovative not-for-profit organisations,
Street Art Murals Australia (SAMA) and Professional Individualised Care (PIC).

The Honourable Member for
Northern Tablelands also presented and congratulated awards winners, along with
Deputy Mayor Councillor Todd Redwood and General Manager of Armidale Regional
Council, Mr James Roncon. The evening was followed by a breakfast in Ben Lomond
at the community hall and Flag-raising ceremony in Guyra on Australia Day with
a morning tea at the Guyra Historical Museum.

GUYRA AWARD
WINNERS:

Citizen of the Year: Beth White

Citizen of the Year (Runner Up): Gwyneth Pearson Gwyn has been
a key member of the Guyra Show Society and the Guyra community for many years
through involvement at Bald Blair School, Guyra Central School and the school
P&C association. Gwyn has helped with junior and senior cricket, rural fire
services and the Lamb and Potato Festival for a number of years by assisting
with fund raising, canteen, cooking and in many other areas.

Community Services Award: Tony and Liz Looker– Tony and Liz
Looker have supported the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service by raising funds
and participating in the Drovers Run 4WD Outback Adventure fundraisers. In 2022
the Run raised $225,000 and Tony and Liz were the highest fundraisers with the
amount that they raised being $40,400.72. This amount was raised by donated
lamb, auctions and raffles. Tony and Liz personally fund the Run in order for
all donations to go directly to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

Community Services Award (Runner Up):– Leanne Mayled – Leanne
has raised over $28,000 for the Westpac helicopter for the Guyra community and
is involved with the Ride for the Chopper Bike event. Leanne also raised money
for Guyra Cycling from the Guyra community for the annual Tour De Rocks cancer
fundraiser event raising over $10,000. The nominee said, “Leanne’s energy and
commitment are incredible”.

Young citizen of the Year Award: Michael Looker– Michael, aged
17 years, has served the community well as School Captain at Guyra Central
School and supporting P&C fund raising activities. He has been involved
with the Guyra Show Society for many years, by volunteering as Assistant
Stewart in the Fruit and Vegetable stand and exhibiting with success. Michael is
an excellent role model inside and outside of the school and a privilege to
know and have assist the Guyra Show Society.

Art and Culture Award (Joint Winners): St Mary’s of the Angels
School and James Warren–

St Mary of the Angels
School hosted their Creative Arts Performance evening in November 2022 and
the evening was enjoyed by the wider community at the Bill Wicks Memorial
Gymnasium. It was an outstanding example of creative arts in the Guyra
community, showcasing the emerging talents of their students through
performances of song, dance and poetry recitals. Kindergarten stole the show by
performing their song in both spoken word and Auslan. The Year 5/6 class
composed, produced and performed their play.

James Warren
moved to Guyra a few years ago. He has embraced all it is to be “Guyra”. His
efforts to engage with the community through his poetry, events and the Craft
and Farmers Market. He is an active member in a number of committee’s and
organisations including but not limited to: Guyra Chamber of Commerce, Guyra
& Communities Progress Association and Guyra Neighbourhood Centre.

Community Event of the Year: Rural Women’s Gathering– The Rural
Women’s Gathering was held at the Ben Lomond Hall on the 14 October 2022 and
brought women together from the local community and also across the state. It
was an opportunity to hear from inspiring women on rural issues impacting women
and was a well-planned and well attended event. The speakers included the Hon.
Bronnie Taylor, Minister for Regional Health and Mental Health, Gail Commens,
the South Pacific Area President of the Associated Country Women of the World
and Ellie Mitchell who is a Guyra Central High School student and recipient of
the Guyra C.W.A Evening Branch’s scholarship.

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