2017 Australia Day Award Winners
Melody Towns of Sandford - Citizen of the Year
A young mother from Sandford who established a charity to raise funds and awareness of the millions of women and children trapped into sexual slavery around the world has won the 2017 City of Clarence Citizen of the Year.
Melody Towns founded ‘Be Hers’ in 2010 after attending a conference by international aid organisation, A21. Shocked by what she heard, Melody decided to take action and established Be Hers.
With the support of a team of volunteers, Melody has organised ‘Be Her Freedom’ events to raise funds and awareness of human trafficking. Be Her Freedom events are mostly aimed at women to empower them to make a difference to the lives of other women forced into sexual slavery. These events are now held in Sydney, the Sunshine Coast, the Illawarra and Launceston with all funds going to the A21 campaign.
In announcing the award, Mayor of Clarence Alderman Doug Chipman said Melody has made a difference to the lives of others.
“With passion, determination and a genuine care for others, Melody has created something incredibly powerful,” Mayor Chipman said.
“Melody has shown that while human trafficking may not be prevalent in Australia, it is a significant global issue and one that we should learn more about and try to do what we can to help.
“With 300 odd volunteers and Be Her Freedom events growing around the country, Melody has given a voice to the voiceless and has shown that one person can make a big difference to the lives of many.”
Other recipients of the 2017 City of Clarence Australia Day Awards are:
Jenny Nurse of Howrah - Senior Citizen of the Year
For more than 20 years, Jenny has been instrumental in the City of Clarence Eisteddfod, a key event in the city run entirely by volunteers.
Jenny began as a committee member and in her second year, became the schools coordinator, organising all large school classes such as choirs, choral groups, bands and instrumental ensembles – a significant task when there are up to 25 schools, 100 entries and 2,000 students participating.
Jenny has been vice president and served five years as president and currently organises sponsorship and advertising.
Jenny’s love for music and encouraging young people to achieve their best is evident through her past work as a music teacher and her involvement in eisteddfods in Tasmania for much of her life.
Amelia Clark of Risdon Vale - Young Citizen of the Year
Fifteen year old Amelia is an active member of the Risdon Vale community and has involved herself in projects as a community member of the Risdon Vale Neighbourhood Centre.
Amelia is part of a core group that established the Homework Centre to improve young people’s literacy and regularly provides one-to-one reading with participants. She also volunteers her time to prepare meals for the Clarence Frozen Meals program and helps out at many community events.
Dronefest – Community Event of the Year
Dronefest is the first event of its kind to be held in Australia and highlights the rapid rise and innovation of drones as a hobby, and in industries such as commerce, research, agriculture and defence.
An initiative of the Rotary Club of Bellerive, and organised with the assistance of the Rotary Club of Howrah, Dronefest was held at Lauderdale in October last year.
The festival provides an opportunity to showcase how drone technology is used through aerial demostrations, displays and short talks, and its potential use in the future.
Dronefest was attended by 1,700 people and it raised approximately $1,700 for two local projects.
The 2017 City of Clarence Australia Day Awards were presented by the Mayor, Alderman Doug Chipman, and Australia Day Ambassador and business mentor, Adam Mostogl at the Bellerive Boardwalk.
Click here for a list of all nominees for the 2017 City of Clarence Australia Day Awards