Nominees for the 2022 Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year have been announced.
Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year
Every year the City of Ryde publicly acknowledges and recognises the outstanding accomplishments by individuals in our community who have excelled in their chosen field. Winners and nominations in the past have come from fields as diverse as sporting administrators, business leaders, fire fighters, church leaders, school captains, writers, youth workers and other entrepreneurs.
- Citizen of the Year recognises outstanding service to the community over an extended period.
- Young Citizen of the Year Recognises outstanding service to the community over an extended period by a young person aged 12 -25yrs.
The awards are open to all Australian citizens living in the City of Ryde. The Young Citizen of the Year Award is open to Australian citizens between the ages of 12 and 25 years (as at 26 January 2022). The awards are held under the auspices of the Australia Day Council of NSW and judging is conducted by a local selection panel. Winners are announced at Council’s Citizen of the year Awards Night which will take place on Thursday 20 January 2022.
Young Citizen of the Year nominees
Anna is an active member of the Armenian community in the City of Ryde. She participates in the activities of many local Armenian organisations and also raises vital funds for Australian and Armenian causes.
Sienna has volunteered for Royal Rehab since the start of 2020, supporting the organisation’s Lifestyle Choir. Sienna has been instrumental in ensuring the choir could still meet remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping lessen impact of isolation felt by many of the choir members.
Ella is a student at Ryde Secondary College who has made a significant contribution to school improvement and community engagement. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ella helped coordinate weekly social media activities to help build school spirit and improve student wellbeing.
Kimberley Anne Spencer
Kimberley volunteers for a range of organisations in the City of Ryde. She has assisted with services at St Therese Church in Denistone and also leads a Girl Guide unit in Eastwood. Most recently, Kimberley has joined the General Executive of the Macquarie University Education Society.
Citizen of the Year nominees
Gary has spent the past 45 years volunteering as a Justice of the Peace (JP). Through this role, Gary offers his services for two hours a week on the JP community desk at Coxs Road Mall, while also arranging the volunteer roster and training other JP volunteers.
Desmond is the founding member and vice chairman of Eastwood Tai Chi Group. Desmond helps conduct free Tai Chi exercise classes each morning in Eastwood, while also taking part in local festivals and events throughout the City of Ryde.
Nora has been an instrumental community figure in West Ryde for decades. She takes a lead role in organising the annual West Ryde Easter Parade and Fair as well as the West Ryde Christmas Carols. She is currently President of the West Ryde Chamber of Commerce.
Len regularly volunteers for community events and charity fundraisers each year. A florist, Len supplies and donates flowers to Royal Rehab each week, as well as a number of other community fundraisers. He also lends his Ford Mustang to transport VIPs at local events.
Judy has volunteered for a large number of local community organisations over the past three decades. Judy assists with CCA NSW’s Meals on Wheels program and also offers her time to assist the Country Women’s Association Eastwood branch.
Julie is a keen advocate for people living with disability and has devoted much of her life to ensuring equal access for all members of the community. She instigated the Royal Rehab Lifestyle Choir and has organised many events catered for people living with disability.
Todd is an integral member of the Ararat Sport Club. As President he has helped the sport club grow to more than 450 members. Todd also assists with other divisions of the club including the dance group, scouting group and helping produce the monthly magazine.
Rochelle is an active contributor to a large number of organisations that assist the City of Ryde community. This includes her role as Vice President for the North Ryde RSL Swimming Club, which requires her to organise Sunday morning swim meets.
Sona is a member of the Armenian Relief Society. Through her membership of the society’s Ryde chapter, Sona supports more than 120 senior citizens by organising group gatherings, bus trips and educational sessions, while also arranging fundraising efforts each year.
Alexander has been a member of the Eastwood Fire & Rescue NSW crew since 2009. He has helped members of the community by attending emergencies, while also undertaking education programs on fire safety. Alexander also volunteers at Putney Public School.
Phillip Ward OAM
Phillip has devoted his life to helping the youth and the environment. He has been a long-serving volunteer of the Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre and is also a founding member of the Hunters Hill Flora and Fauna Preservation Society.
Citizen of the Year
Carmen is the founder of The Generous and The Grateful, a social enterprise created in Macquarie Park in 2017.
Working with frontline agencies such as the Salvation Army and Mission Australia, The Generous and The Grateful provides furniture and other essential household items to those in need.
Leading a team of more than 60 volunteers, Carmen’s hard-work and dedication has seen almost 500 homes furnished in the past financial year. These efforts have assisted some of our most vulnerable people, including those escaping domestic violence, those experiencing financial difficulties as well as refugees and migrants.
A particular focus of Carmen’s work in 2020 was directed to people who were displaced from their homes due to the devastating bushfires as well as due to the increased prevalence of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carmen’s efforts with The Generous and The Grateful were recently recognised by the AMP Foundation which awarded her with a grant from its Tomorrow Fund.
Besides her tremendous work with The Generous and The Grateful, Carmen is also a valued member of the City of Ryde community.
She is an active member of Venture Café Sydney, which is located in Macquarie Park, and has been involved with the City of Ryde Status of Women Advisory Committee and the Social Inclusion Advisory Committee.
Young Citizen of the Year
In 2018, Alex’s life changed forever when aged just 16 years old he broke his neck and severely damaged his spinal cord while doing what he loved – playing rugby for the under 17s NSW rugby sevens selection squad.
Told he may never walk again, Alex spent close to a year in ICU, the spinal unit at Royal North Shore and Royal Rehab where he worked extremely hard on learning to adjust to his new life and regain function and movement in his limbs.
Testament to his positive outlook, Alex completed his rehab and returned to school to complete his HSC. He also worked on his strength to enable him to once again brush his teeth, use a computer, feed himself and operate a wheelchair himself.
It is around this time that Alex developed the motto – “If I fight – you fight”.
This motto has become its own movement and Alex now works to inspire individuals, businesses, sports clubs, schools, celebrities and professional athletes to look back and be happy with the life they have created for themselves.
Alex is also an Ambassador for the University of Sydney’s Centre for Neuroscience and Regeneration and has dedicated much of his time to raising money to treat spinal cord injuries.
For Alex, life is a gift and he wakes up everyday and appreciates that, knowing that he can do anything he puts his mind to.