Disability champion David Currie has been named Penrith’s Citizen of the Year.
Mr Currie has lived in Penrith for 70 years and for many decades has devoted his time to several charities and campaigning for the rights of people with a disability.
He is one of nine residents awarded Australia Day honours at a formal dinner held at the Civic Centre last night.
Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler OAM said Mr Currie had made a significant contribution to the city.
“David has been a valuable member of Council’s Access Committee since 2006 helping to make Penrith more accessible for all community members,” he said.
Mr Currie also volunteered his time, and his financial expertise, to the PARAQUAD board for close to a decade, and has been on the board of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy for 10 years. He is involved in community work with the Parish of Holy Spirit at St Clair and is also a board member of Wentworth Community Housing.
The 2015 Penrith Young Person of the Year is Max Fenton.
Mr Fenton is passionate about youth work and has backed his passion with hard work and dedication – especially toward disadvantaged young people.
“Max has played an important role in Council’s Mondo Project which seeks to engage young people and curb anti-social behaviour ,” Cr Fowler said.
Tahlia Tupaea was named Penrith’s Sports Person of the Year.
Ms Tupaea has made representative teams in tennis, athletics and most notably basketball. She represented Australia in the Open Australian School Girls basketball team when she was just 14. At 15 she joined the Sydney Uni Flames, making her the second youngest debutant ever in the Women’s National Basketball League.
Ms Tupaea fits her sport commitments around her HSC studies and is a keen supporter of other young players through coaching and clinics.
The 2015 Penrith Local Hero is Lesley Smith.
Mrs Smith was recognised for her tireless efforts to raise money for charity and volunteering, particularly with the Rural Fire Service.
Local Appreciation Awards were also awarded at the Civic Centre ceremony to Sally Wawn, Abaker Athum, Dr Om Dhungyel, Dr Alexis Leones and Sally Reedy.
Cr Fowler said award winners were nominated as outstanding citizens by friends, family and peers.
“Sally Wawn was recognised for generously volunteering her time and skills to help many local sport clubs and community groups continue to run,” he said.
“Abaker Athum grew up in war-torn Sudan and has been awarded for using his creativity as a Hip Hop artist to generate opportunities for young people in St Marys.
“Dr Om Dhungyel was recognised for his ongoing volunteer work to support the successful settlement of Bhutanese refugees in Penrith.
“Dr Alexis Leones is the President of the Philippine Language and Cultural Association of Australia and was awarded for her contribution to many cultural events in Penrith.
“Sally Reedy was recognised for her volunteer work with St John Ambulance, the State Emergency Service and the Mama Lana Community Foundation which helps people who are homeless.
“All recipients richly deserve recognition for their work in our community and I thank and congratulate them.”