By the time today’s Australia Day festivities end there will be 120 newly minted Australians in Campbelltown alone.
Across the nation thousands will swear the oath of allegiance to our great country at hundreds of citizenship ceremonies in every town and city.
Campbelltown Mayor, Paul Lake, speaking this morning at the traditional venue for local festivities, Koshigaya Park, said people who lived and worked here becoming Australians on January 26 was an important part of the day.
“We will do around 60 citizenship ceremonies here, and then we will go over to Ingleburn for another 60, so at the end of the day we will have 120 new Australians here in Campbelltown, Cr Lake said.
“Which is really great.’’
Following the mayor’s speech, and one by Campbelltown’s 2015 Australia Day ambassador, Pierre Issa, founder of Pepe Saya Cultured Butter, it was time to announce the winners of the annual awards.
Clint Grattan of Rosemeadow, a weight loss specialist who has inspired hundreds of local residents to lead healthier and happier lives was named Campbelltown’s 2015 Citizen of the Year.
Grattan, also known as the “weight loss angel’’, was acknowledged for his efforts in helping and inspiring others to make a positive change.
A full-time warehouse labourer by day, by night Grattan is the owner and operator of the highly successful free community life changing Weight Loss Angel Program, which has been going since 2006.
The program started with Grattan’s own weight loss journey.
After being 40 kilograms overweight, it was time to change.
Inspired by his wife, Danielle, and his daughter Payten, he set out to be a better role model and turned his life around with the help of close friend and fight trainer, Todd Makelim.
The weight loss angel was born and a goal was set to assist others fighting their own weight loss demons.
Grattan’s 12-week program assists people who cannot afford a trainer, are unsure what to eat and how to train, have medical issues or are looking for help to truly believe in themselves again. A qualified personal trainer, he was determined to give back to those who needed his expertise most in the local community, after training with The Biggest Loser winners and contestants, pro golfers, first grade footballers and some of the best fighters in the country.
In the other award categories, the Community Group Initiative of the Year honour went to the Under 16s Macarthur Saints Junior Rugby League Football team. This was in acknowledgement of the team’s contribution to St Vincent de Paul’s blanket appeal for the homeless people of Sydney. The U16s team, consisting of 21 players, collected more than 200 blankets for the appeal, smashing their goal of 100 blankets. The team travelled to Sydney and individually handed out the blankets to homeless people and were recipients of the Macarthur Saints Club President’s award in acknowledgement of their remarkable achievements.
Ruse’s Cormac Clissold did not attend today’s ceremony when he was named Sportsperson of the Year for achievements in tennis. Cormac, who is currently ranked 144 in Australian Men’s Singles, was part of the NSW Pizzey Cup Team that won the National Australian Championship. Winning a total of 18 titles between January 2013 and March 2014, Cormac’s other sporting achievements include NSW Combined High School Winner, South Coast Open Champion and 2013 and 2014 Club Champion.
Sixteen-year-old Gabbi Anderson of Ruse and 17-year-old Kenzie Hancock of Rosemeadow were named as joint winners of the 2015 Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year award.
A volunteer at Beverley Park School, Gabbi has taught the students music and circus as part of a program run through Campbelltown Performing Arts High School. Gabbi has competed at State level in rhythmic gymnastics for the past eight years, with a current rank of eighth in the state. Over the past two years, Gabbi has also been fundraising for Alzheimer’s Australia in support of her Nan. In 2014, Gabbi was nominated by her school for the annual NSW Marie Bashir Peace Awards.
Kenzie has been a volunteer for the Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation for the past six years. She played a crucial role in the organisation of the Year 12 African Aids Foundation Fundraising Dinner and takes an active role in serving others in the community. Kenzie has demonstrated excellent leadership, sporting prowess and outstanding academic results during her time at Broughton Anglican College.
Mayor Paul Lake praised all of the award recipients for their outstanding contributions to the local community.
“These big-hearted individuals have demonstrated a passion for helping others, and a commitment to giving back to their local community,” Cr Lake said.
“Each award recipient has achieved their own success, but along the way they have never forgotten the importance of the journey and the power of empathy and kindness.
“Our 2015 Australia Day award winners have demonstrated the values of hard work, compassion and self-belief in reaching one’s goals, as well as a generosity of spirit – all of which resonate very strongly in our community, and make these individuals worthy award recipients,” Cr Lake said.