A local volunteer and champion for encouraging social inclusion who gives his time and talent to connect elderly and less mobile people to their community and the outdoors has been named Fremantle’s Citizen of the Year.
In 2019, Tim McGrath established the Cycling Without Age chapter in Fremantle, a not-for-profit organisation that allows elderly and people with a disability to experience an outdoor ride on trishaw e-bikes piloted by volunteer cyclists. He’s also the current treasurer of Cycling Without Age Australia and is part of the executive team supporting various chapters in WA.
Within the City of Fremantle, there are three trishaws available for members of the general public who are unable to ride for themselves, as well as organised rides for aged care and disability care providers.
Mr McGrath said he first got involved with Cycling Without Age to support vulnerable members of the community experiencing social and physical isolation.
“I often say magic happens when we go for rides – we stop and chat, wave and smile and sometimes even sing,” Mr McGrath said.
“We find the social inclusion that comes with the attention of passers-by and the conversations with the passengers and pilot make it a joyful experience for everyone.”
Bill Johnstone, the founding president and lifelong member of the Fremantle Men’s Community Shed, was named Fremantle’s Senior Citizen of the Year. The Fremantle Shed has provided a structured model that has assisted 190 new sheds, and Mr Johnstone has been instrumental in mentoring many new sheds throughout the state.
Fremantle’s Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to both Caitlin Eaton and Midaiah Harnett for their enthusiastic volunteering contributions to their community. Miss Eaton, a community champion advocating for young people in the LGBTQI+ space, and Miss Harnett, a law student, social justice advocate, avid public speaker and debater are also members of the Fremantle Youth Network.
The Active Citizenship Award was won by Freo Farmers Market, which adapted to strict health requirements and continued to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic to support its community, stallholders and local growers.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said this year’s Community Citizen of the Year recipients had championed positive change in their local community in what was a very challenging 2020 for many groups and individuals.
“This year, especially, we’ve seen countless groups and individuals make outstanding contributions to vulnerable people in the community,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“A big congratulations to Tim, Bill, Caitlin, Midaiah and the team behind the Freo Farmers Market for dedicating their time and effort to support our community.
“I’m honoured to present these deserving community members with the City of Fremantle’s highest accolade and celebrate their achievements.”
2021 Fremantle Citizen of the Year Awards:
Citizen of the Year – Tim McGrath
Senior Citizen of the Year – Bill Johnstone
Young Citizen of the Year – Caitlin Eaton and Midaiah Harnett
Active Citizenship Award – Freo Farmers Market
Image caption: Citizen of the Year Tim McGrath, Senior Citizen of the Year Bill Johnstone and Active Citizenship Award winner Kylie Wheatley from Freo Farmers Market.