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Local Heroes Honoured in a Year of Turmoil

By Northern Beaches Council
Posted: 26 Jan 2021
Collaroy
In a year featured by uncertainty and challenges, Northern Beaches Council has collectively applauded the achievements of outstanding citizens honoured in the Australia Day Awards for 2021.

The group of 20 Award winners includes disability and mental health advocates, emergency services and sports mentoring volunteers, and an environmental activist.

Mayor Michael Regan said the Awards recognise Northern Beaches’ unsung heroes - individuals or organisations making an outstanding contribution to their community during the year, and those who have given outstanding service.

“The Awards pay tribute to the special people in our community who have gone above and beyond to help improve the lives of others and contribute to a diverse, friendly and strong community,” Cr Regan said.

“All the awardees are dedicated, passionate and want to leave only a positive imprint within our community.

“It has been a tough year and our community has taken some knocks, so we are particularly grateful for people who selflessly give back to their communities to make it a better place for all.”

Citizen of the Year Christian Barwell said the motivation for starting his new disability support group was having a younger sibling who lives with a disability. He could see firsthand where quality services were lacking and how he could help make a difference.

Christian was shocked but happy to be named winner and hoped this acknowledgement would help his new disability service gain some traction in the community.

“I’m excited and a bit nervous, but very nice to be honoured with this award,” Christian said.

“Up & Over has a strong focus on providing valuable and meaningful social engagement for young people with disabilities and adding value to an individual’s time spent with us.”

Australia Day 2021 Award winners:

  • Citizen of the Year – Christian Barwell, Collaroy
    Christian founded his own organisation Up & Over in May 2020, a new disability respite service for young people that provides group-based social outings for people living with disabilities on the Northern Beaches.
  • Senior Citizen of the Year – Michael Christie, Allambie Heights
    Michael has devoted 35 years to volunteering to local junior sports mentoring, administration and coaching of little athletics. He has several awards for his extensive involvement in local junior sport.
  • Young Citizen of the Year – Stephanie Evans, Narraweena
    Stephanie founded Seas of Change in 2014 at age 10 to raise money and awareness for marine life and their environments. She is an active marine activist, focussed on education and action on preserving and conserving the natural environment and climate change.
  • Sportsperson of the Year – Ruby Trew, North Curl Curl
    Ruby is a talented 12-year-old, successful skater and surfer who has won local, Australian and international skate events, as well as local, regional and state surf events. She started skating at age five and her most recent achievement was being identified by the Australian Sports Commission for skateboarding.
  • Community Event of the Year – ‘28 for Twenty Eight’ presented by Jason Partington
    Jason pioneered an event to support people experiencing mental health crises by creating a month-long event ‘28 for Twenty Eight’ in October, which encouraged people to participate in ten minutes of meditation each day, for 28 consecutive days, while raising funds for Lifeline. The event raised $31,900 for Lifeline which funded 1139 crisis calls to be answered.
  • Outstanding Community Service Award recipients - see online list for 15 winners.
 
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