Cancer Council volunteer RUTH DIDSBURY is The Hills Shire Citizen of the year.
The mother-of-two from Glenhaven was presented with her award during the Australia Day Celebrations at Bella Vista Farm on Sunday.
Senior Citizen of the Year is CAROL HARDING from Baulkham Hills who was recognised for her work with victims of domestic violence.
Former Kellyville High student AUSTIN ROSIER is young Hills Young Citizen of the Year for his role as a mentor.
An honorary award, marking a life-time of community service, was awarded to the late ALLAN DREW. BUDOKAN JUDO at Castle Hill is the community club of the year.
The awards were presented by Hills Shire Mayor Michelle Byrne and former Australian Local hero of the year Eddie Woo.
The Mayor said it was a great time to congratulate the unsung heroes in the heroes in the community “who give generously of their time and strive to create a beautiful, welcoming and inclusive environment”.
Mr Woo’s speech was also about inclusivity and the importance of “respecting” each other and listening to people’s stories.
RUTH DIDSBURY: Hills Citizen of the Year Anyone who visited Castle Towers in the 18 days leading up to Christmas would have seen Ruth Didsbury in her purple Relay For Life shirt behind the gift-wrapping counting.
As the volunteer co-ordinator, Ruth spent over 181 hours at Castle Towers leading up to Christmas day with her rotating team of volunteers. The wra pping raised a record-breaking $15,115.60 for the Cancer Council.
She also co-ordinated The Mother’s Day wrap at the Towers and the Father’s Day wrap last year, volunteering a total of 265 wrapping hours and raising over $18,500.
Ruth has been a member of the Hills Relay for Life Committee for over 15 years and also helps stage a Christmas Lights show at her home. Her other volunteer roles include working as a Cancer Council MP Liaison. She is also on the Hills Light the Night organising committee for the Leukaemia Foundation.
When Ruth is not raising funds and awareness for both the Cancer Council and the Leukaemia Foundation she is actively involved in the Hills District Tennis Association where she looks after their tournaments and their Saturday morning juniors’ competitions.
CAROL HARDING: Senior Citizen of the Year (photo Carol with Mayor)
Carol has spent decades helping victims of domestic abuse. She spent more than 25 years at St Michael’s Family Centre in the Family Support and Accommodation Program at Baulkham Hills, working for the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy, Her last nine years were as co-ordinator.
She also supervised over 30 students at the Family Centre during their work placements as part of their studies in welfare and social work.
Carol has spoken at many events and services, as well as to students about the issues around domestic violence and homelessness and their impact on women and children.
She now volunteers with The Sanctuary_ The Hills Women’s Shelter where she has taken on the busy community liaison role.
Carol has also been a member of the Hills Domestic Violence Prevention Network since 1995 and has helped organise numerous events including several parenting forums.
AUSTIN ROSIER: Young Citizen of the Year As a Year 11 student at Kellyville High Austin was selected as an ANZAC Ambassador by the Centenary of Anzac Committee for The Hills. That was in 2015 and Austin has maintained that link after finishing his term as Ambassador and speaking at ANZAC Day services and on Remembrance Day,
He has since mentored the ambassadors appointed in both 2018 and in 2019. He was on the selection panel for the 2019 program and assisted in the appointment of the ambassadors.
In addition to these volunteer roles, Austin has also served the Hills Shire community in a number of other roles, including acting weekly as a carer for two young men with Autism and mentoring and leading a youth group at St Paul’s Castle Hill.
BUDOKAN JUDO CLUB: Community Group of the Year This Castle Hill-based club focuses on a diverse community demographic from pre-school pre-judo toddlers to veteran competitors and members with spectrum disorders. Coach Rob Katz accepted the award on the club’s behalf.
ALLAN DREW OAM: Award for Outstanding Service to the Hills Community Allan was a well-known name in the Hills who passed away at Norwest Hospital last year at the age of 69. In his role as a funeral director for almost 40 years, he helped thousands of families during their darkest times.
He worked well beyond his professional role and was also a driving force in various charitable endeavours – locally and abroad.
He volunteered for disaster relief agencies, including Kenyon International and Global Aid Network, where he supported colleagues in Bali who were repatriating the bodies of those killed in the 2005 Bali terrorist attacks. He was also seconded to Phuket after the 2004 tsunami disaster to support the team working to identify the deceased.
Despite failing health in 2019, Allan continued with his tireless efforts locally as a Lions Club member and with the annual blanket drive for Parramatta Mission – a drive which saw hundreds of blankets collected for those in need this past winter.
The Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne said: “Allan will be remembered for his infectious smile and an even bigger heart. He is missed immensely, but his legacy will continue to live on through this community,” Mayor Byrne added.