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Australia Day in Campbelltown: community spirit rises to the top

Australia Day

Honour: Mayor Paul Hawker, Citizen of the year Jennifer Watt , MP Greg Warren and Dr Joanna McMillan.

Tireless Macquarie Fields community volunteer Jennifer Watt was this morning named 2016 Campbelltown Citizen of the Year.

At the traditional Australia Day celebrations in Koshigaya Park, Campbelltown mayor Paul Hawker also announced that the other categories went to:

• Young Citizen of the Year – Brandon Cotter

• Sportsperson of the Year – Braydon Hawes,

• Community Group Initiative of the Year – Rotary Club of Macarthur Sunrise.

Present for the ceremony were a number of local MPs, councillors and 2016 Australia Day ambassador for Campbelltown, health expert Dr Joanna McMillan.

Cr Hawker thanked all the nominees for their outstanding contribution to the Campbelltown community.

“We are tremendously grateful to those who work to improve our community and the lives of others,” Cr Hawker said.

“Our annual Australia Day Awards provide the chance to recognise the contribution made to our city by local residents, whether they have performed a great service to the community or inspire us to do our best,” Cr Hawker said.

Australia Day

Meet the locals: some brand new Aussies pose for photos with the mayor and local MP Greg Warren, left. Almost 60 local residents took the oath of citizenship at Koshigaya Park, with 57 more at Ingleburn an hour later.

Citizen of the year Jennifer Watt is a perfect example of what the mayor spoke about: From volunteering on school committees, to supporting the local Girl Guides and fundraising for wigs for cancer patients at Campbelltown Hospital, Jennifer has demonstrated a passion for helping others and a talent for fundraising.

She is currently the co-ordinator of the Ingleburn Knitting Group, who meet once a week to knit squares, which Jennifer then joins together to make blankets for premature babies and the “Wrap with love’’ charity, which distributes knitted wraps to people in need across the world.

Throughout her life, sewing and knitting have been a constant thread – Jennifer has sewed costumes for the cast of school musicals and rock eisteddfods, and made countless library bags for local schools.

She has given generously of her time to many groups and charities, organising numerous fundraising events for bushfire victims, drought stricken famers and Cancer Council’s Australia’s Biggest Morning tea.

♦ Young Citizen of the Year, Brandon Cotter, 17, of Glen Alpine, has always displayed leadership and community spirit, but his efforts during 2015 deserve special recognition.

During the past year, Brandon volunteered with the Rise Above program, which helps students deal with issues like bullying and cyber safety.

His volunteer work was recognised by his school, St Gregory’s College, Campbelltown, with Brandon receiving the 2015 Brother Paul Hough Award for Social Justice and Action and a Community Service Award for his commitment and responsibility to the service of others.

Brandon was one of six students from his school who travelled to Fiji to meet under privileged students and assist with building works at the local school.

Australia Day

The Mayor with some new citizens of Australia.

Brandon also received the Collegians Soccer Club Recognition Award for 2015 for his courage and leadership in raising awareness about safety at soccer grounds in Rosemeadow.

He volunteers regularly for the St Vincent de Paul door knock appeal, the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal, Rotary Global Swimathon for Polio and Cricket for Cancer days.

♦ Although he is only 12 years old, Sportsperson of the Year Brandon Hawes from Macquarie Fields is an all-round athlete with a long list of accomplishments.

During 2015, Brandon was selected and played zone AFL as well as zone rugby league for the under 11s.

He was named Best and Fairest for the State Rugby League team, was selected for zone touch football, and went on to be selected for the Sydney South West Touch Football team.

His local rugby league team, the Ingleburn Tigers under 11s, won the 2015 grand final, with Brandon named as player of the match.

Brandon was selected in the school zone cross country and regional cross country teams. He also represented the zone and the region for Little Athletics Milo Cricket.

Brandon has accepted an offer to attend Westfield Sports High School in 2016 and join their talented rugby league program.

♦ Community Group Initiative of the Year award winner Rotary Club of Macarthur Sunrise was formed in 1995 and supports a wide range of local community activities – assisting schools and hospitals and creating opportunities for local youth.

The club has introduced many innovative ideas to the community but receives recognition this year for Discobilit, a combined karaoke and dance event for people with disability.

Held four times a year, the event is extremely popular, attracting large crowds of party-goers from across the Macarthur region.





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