Long time Bayside resident and Grace Heart Church Reverend, Bruce Corben was announced as Bayside’s Citizen of the Year at the Australia Day Awards ceremony held at Brighton Yacht Club.
The award was presented to Reverend Corben in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Bayside through his work at the church where he and his team of over 20 volunteers, work tirelessly to support vulnerable members of the community and provide them with support, resources and opportunities to improve their circumstances.
Some of their initiatives include: providing cooked lunches to those who may not have access to a nutritious meal, establishing multiple community groups and providing free information sessions on a range of topics.
Alongside his work at the church, Bruce Corben has been a volunteer for the State DHHS intellectual disability service for 17 years, concentrating his efforts in the Bayside Community.
Bayside Mayor, Cr Clarke Martin congratulated Mr Corben and said the award recognises his ongoing commitment to helping others over the years.
“Bruce has made it his life’s work to help others, donating his time and energy. His continuing dedication to the community and his contribution to making Bayside a better place is truly heart-warming,” Cr Clarke said.
“Bruce is setting an example of what it means to be truly genourous and has changed the course of countless lives. He is an outstanding member of our community and Bayside is lucky to have him.”
“All the individuals and organisations recognised through these awards are making a wonderful contribution to our Bayside community and should be extremely proud of their achievement,” he said.
The 2020 Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to Emily Fairweather for her work through the community initiative she founded, Flourish Programs. Emily advocates on behalf of young people to promote anti-bullying and help teens transition from primary to secondary school.
Community Event of the Year Award went to Highett Neighbourhood Community House for their important R U Ok Day event where they hosted over 35 community and service organisations to discuss important topics on mental health.
The Senior Citizen of the Year Award went to centenarian Ralph Butcher OAM to recognise his contribution to the families of Australian Defence Force veterans and his significant volunteering and mentorship positions in Bayside over the years.
The Australia Day awards also include two acolades specifically for contributions to Bayside’s natural environment.
The Individual Environmental Award was presented to Mr Derek Jones for his work as the Founder of Friends of Bayside Roads and his drive to keep Bayside roads clean.
The Toy Library took out the Organisational Environmental Award for its work educating community members that frequent the library to share, donate and repair toys for reuse for many years.