The nominees for the 2017 Clarence Valley Australia Day awards gather at the dinner at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club.
The nominees for the 2017 Clarence Valley Australia Day awards gather at the dinner at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club. Adam Hourigan

Clarence Valley's finest awarded at dinner

AGE was no barrier to being recognised by the Clarence Valley Community as both the young and young at heart took out awards at the 2017 Clarence Valley Australia Day Awards.

The Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year was awarded to Florence (Diane) Lee. Diane served as a nurse in World War 2, and now as a welfare officer, she assists veterans and their families. Diane also organises the annual Legacy Church Service and has been president of the Laurel Club for 15 years supporting war widows. She volunteers her time with Suicide Prevention Group, the Maclean Hospital and nursing homes in the area.

 

2017 Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year is Diane Lee.
2017 Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year is Diane Lee. Adam Hourigan

The Clarence Valley Young Citizen of the Year was too close to split with joint winners Hannah Smith and Bennett Mitchelhill awarded the trophies.

Hannah was the 2015/16 Clarence Lifeguard of the Year and is known for maintaining a strong connection with beach-goers through her professional conduct. From assisting in life-threatening events, through to simply advising people when they look sunburnt, moving a forgotten towel up the beach or picking up rubbish, Hannah is a role model to young people in the Clarence Valley and a deserved winner.

Bennett was worried when his friend hadn't turned up to school for a few weeks. He went looking for answers and he discovered his friend had cancer. Not one to sit and wallow, Bennett set a goal of raising $5000 to assist his friend. Bennett applied and won a grant with McDonalds and started a fundraiser selling raffle tickets. He also volunteers at Camp Quality, helps promote the 'Love your sister' campaign, volunteers with Clean up Australia Day and Surfing with the Disabled. Bennett also just happens to excel at school as well.

The Clarence Valley Community Achievement award was presented to Grafton Midnight Basketball (GMB). GMB forms part of a national social inclusion program to help at-risk local youth build skills and confidence and identify and embrace positive opportunities in their community. Over 60 young people participated in 2016 with their motto 'no workshop, no jump-shot' meaning that participants must attend the life-skill workshops before playing a few games and receiving a nutritious dinner on a Friday night.

The Clarence Valley Local Hero award was presented to Roger Green, who also happily jumped back up on stage and sung an old favourite much to the joy of the crowd. Roger donates everything he makes to patients with cancer which is more than $64,000 in 12 years.


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