NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer Malcolm Boridge is the Hawkesbury Shire Citizen of the Year. The firefighter of over 38 years was presented with his award at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Windsor on Sunday.
The Young Citizen of the Year Award went to Jesse Wijnans who uses his hearing and speech delay as an asset to teach others to be inclusive. Diane Sweeney received the Volunteer of the Year Award for her role as Salvation Army volunteer. The Community Arts Award, recognising the contribution someone has made to local development and growth of art, went to Madyson Disbray for increasing awareness of local musicians.
The Community Organisation of the Year is Pink Finss Charity.
Hawkesbury Mayor, Cr Barry Calvert hosted the awards congratulated the heroes and recipients in our community, as well as thanked emergency rescue organisations for their tireless effort during the bushfires. He said this year we have “witnessed the incredible devotion of volunteers giving literally months of their own time, during Christmas and the holiday season, and even now, to save our lives, our homes, our towns and environment wherever possible – at great personal cost.”
Feted among the guests to the Award ceremony were NSW Rural Fire Service Hawkesbury Superintendent Karen Hodges Hawkesbury Australia Day Ambassador, Peter Frazer whose daughter, Sarah, was tragically killed in a totally avoidable Hume Freeway crash while her broken-down car was loaded onto a tow-truck. Mr Frazer now devotes his life to advocating for the vulnerable, having founded Safer Australian Roads and Highways and National Road Safety Week.
MALCOLM BORIDGE: Hawkesbury Citizen of the Year Anyone acquainted with Malcolm Boridge may have seen him travelling over Hawkesbury to fight fires during his 27 years of service for the Blaxland Ridge Rural Fire Brigade. After joining the RFS in 1980, he took on the role of Captain in 1995, and is now the longest standing Captain to date. He was awarded the National Medal in 2004 for his diligent services to protecting the community from bushfires, recognising this service came with some risk to himself. He was also awarded the RFS 30 years long service award in 2012. Mr Boridge was awarded a life member when he became Deputy Group Captain of Hawkesbury RFS in 2008. His dedication to the community’s safety has inspired many others to join the RFS and many more to motivate themselves in stabilising Hawkesbury’s preparedness for fire dangers.
JESSE WIJNANS: Young Citizen of the Year Mr Wijnans is a youth group leader who regularly volunteers at community events to support young people, empowering himself to teach others the benefits of including everyone with his hearing and speech delay. When he isn’t studying a Certificate II in Community and Family Services, he volunteers for deaf camps, McHappy Day, Hawkesbury Youth Fest and Hawkesbury Community Outreach Services. Mr Wijnans demonstrates resilience and leadership as a youth in Hawkesbury.
DIANE SWEENEY: Volunteer of the Year Diane Sweeny has been a full time volunteer at Hawkesbury City Salvation Army for six years. As part of this, she coordinates and runs the Hope Market that runs every Tuesday. It is a place where members of the community can come have a chat, receive food and get help paying their bills. Every week, Diane selects and prepares donations of produce and goods to be ready for the Tuesday Markets.
PINK FINSS CHARITY: Community Organisation of the Year The Windsor based charity secured a home in the Old Hawkesbury Hospital where it provides a space for women with cancer (not only breast cancer) with monthly support group meetings, treatment rooms for oncology massage, office space, yoga and meditation classes, helping the Hawkesbury community in many ways.
MADYSON DISBRAY: Community Arts Award Madyson Disbray is well known for inspiring local youth and spreading the awareness of local musicians, helping them build greater platforms to showcase their talent in the Hawkesbury area. She organised a music night at The Church Bar Windsor in 2019 and has also supported local charity organisations including Reclaim the Night, Windsor Rotary Drought Relief Fundraiser and YouthFest. By doing so, she is not only supporting their self-esteem, but is empowering them to turn their talent into a career.