19 January 2023

Bega Valley plans Australia Day celebrations, reveals citizens of the year

| Albert McKnight
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Bega Valley’s citizens of the year for 2023: Philippa Street (top left), Daphne Sweeney (bottom left), Daytona Porter (second right) and Zoe Pentin. Photos: BVSC.

It’s that time of the year again, when the entire Bega Valley Shire community is invited to come together and celebrate Australia Day with a free breakfast.

Aside from being a time to spend with family and friends, it is also when the region’s council recognises those who help make the valley the wonderful place that it is, with its citizens of the year awards.

The 2023 Bega Valley Shire Citizen of the Year is Philippa Street and the Senior Citizen of the Year is Daphne Sweeney.

There are also two recipients of Young Citizen of the Year awards, Daytona Porter and Zoe Pentin.

Their achievements will be applauded during Bega Valley Shire Council’s Australia Day celebrations on 26 January in Littleton Gardens, Bega.

The free breakfast starts at 7:30 am then the awardees will be thanked at 8:30 am.

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Jay Allen OAM is this year’s Australia Day Ambassador. He is a cancer survivor, patient advocate and founder of the not-for-profit charity Australian Skin Cancer Foundation who has helped raise millions for cancer research.

The breakfast will have entertainment from local musician and former Australia’s Got Talent contestant Sam Stevenson, while Bega Valley Medallions will be awarded to 13 people who have served the community over a number of years.

The medallion recipients are: Bev Walker, Cherie White, Christine Mcdowell, Doug and Robyn Blair, Maureen Volentras, Michael Pryke, Nicholas Sticotti, Patricia Jones, Cherie Mercado, Michael Palmer, Nigel Ayling and Damien Tilley.

The shire will also welcome its newest Australians at an Australian Citizenship Ceremony, with citizens coming from Italy, Fiji, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Thailand, India and the Philippines.

Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said Australia Day was the time to reflect on our history, respect the stories of others and celebrate our nation, its achievements and most of all, its people.

“I encourage everyone to not only enjoy Australia Day festivities, but to take time and reflect on what it means to be an Australian citizen: our shared values, our national history, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and our commitment to reconciliation,” he said.

“In line with the Australia Day theme of respect, reflect and celebrate, we’re all part of the story and we all have a role to play in the successful development of the shire.”

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Council says Ms Street, from Candelo, has dedicated two decades to the rehabilitation of Candelo Creek and other projects focused on her town and its parklands.

The volunteer work by Bega resident Ms Sweeney covers decades, including in Candelo and Bega Red Cross, the Bega Country Women’s Association, the Candelo Show Society, the Bega Show Society, the Anglican Church’s Friends of Court, Ricky’s Place and Bega Seniors Social Group.

Daytona, a 17-year-old from Tathra, is a youth leader who stands out not only as a high achiever, but also as an accomplished mentor and inspiration to young people in her community and more broadly across the state.

Pambula’s Ms Pentin is a high achiever academically as well as in her community engagement activities, who will pursue her work in giving back to the community through studying a Masters in Secondary Education this year with a prospect of teaching history and social science.

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