See who took out the Clarence Valley Australia Day Awards for 2021.
See who took out the Clarence Valley Australia Day Awards for 2021.

REVEALED: Clarence Valley Australia Day Award winners 2021

The winners of the 2021 Clarence Valley Australia Day Awards were announced yesterday at a special presentation at the Grafton District Services Club. The outstanding winners and wonderful nominees were celebrated for their enormous contributions to Clarence Valley life.

Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year - Hayley Talbot

Hayley is a passionate advocate for all things good in the Clarence Valley, its people and environment, and future generations. She applied for a grant to plant 5,000 native and nectar feeding trees for the fire ravaged areas of Ashby, Mororo, Iluka and surrounds to help the local koala population. After securing this grant, the trees were planted by the community post-bushfires to help regenerate koala habitat and bring people together who had lost their jobs through COVID-19. Hayley runs a free volunteer safe space in Yamba where young women are encouraged to call in and enjoy a safe and relaxed atmosphere to create, learn and converse openly with each other.

Clarence Valley Young Citizen of the Year - Kalani Ives

Kalani is the most dedicated 15 year old in the Clarence Valley. She is dedicated to training independently every day and wants to become the next Indigenous Ironwoman and compete in the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series. She is a volunteer lifeguard at Yamba Main Beach, has two jobs; all while attending Maclean High School. Kalani's outstanding list of 2020 results include 2020 - SLSNSW Age State Championships U15's 6th Ironwoman, 7th Ocean Swim; 2020 - SLSNSW Envirobank Country Championships U15's 1st 2km beach run, 2nd surf race, 2nd Ironwoman, U15's 2nd board race, U15's 2nd rescue tube. She also has an impressive list of achievements from 2019.

Clarence Valley Local Hero - Scott Campbell

On the evening of 8/11/19 Lawrence RFS Captain Scott Campbell went above and beyond helping community members, something which almost cost him his life. As a firestorm approached Nymboida, Scott stayed with a resident while other fire crews fell back to safer positions. He helped the resident defend their home until all resources were spent. They evacuated just as the main fire front approached but were caught in the fire while leaving the property which caused their vehicle to break down. As the firestorm swept over them while trapped inside the car, they came very close to death. Scott managed to get the vehicle going and, incredibly, once he delivered the resident to a nearby ambulance, he continued helping more residents long into the night.

Clarence Valley Community Achievement (Group) - Rebuild Nymboida Community - Nymboida Recovery Team

The Nymboida Recovery Team formed within days of the Nymboida firestorm that destroyed over 90 houses on 8/11/19. A community recovery hub was set up by Gray Stride at the Canoe Centre with Georgia Foster-Eyles, Fiona Passmore and Pamela Denise as the primary go to people, aided by numerous others. The hub provided emergency accommodation, water, food and garbage disposal services for the community who were trapped behind the fire front. Georgia set up Facebook sites, co-ordinated donations and managed the community tool shed to loan equipment for recovery. Fiona co-ordinated the volunteer labour teams. Pamela co-ordinated the fair distribution of raised funds, developed the Nymboida Community Action Plan and co-ordinated the community event to acknowledge 12 months since the horrific fires. Their efforts were exceptional and are a case study in how to do local led community recovery after an emergency.

Special thanks to Cr Karen Toms who was Council's 2021 Australia Day Advocate and the Master of Ceremony at the event as well as the Selection Committee members The Very Rev'd Dr Greg Jenks, Rosemary Laurie and Paris Brailsford.

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