Volunteers from Hills and Hawkesbury bagged awards in different categories and received recognition at the 2023 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards on 22 August 2023.
Four people received awards at the North Western Sydney Award Ceremony; three are from the Hills, while the fourth is from Hornsby. The awards night was held at The Centre of Volunteering in Castle Hill.
Mercedes Durante from North Kellyville is the Adult Volunteer of the Year and the winner in North Western Sydney. She also advocates for domestic violence support and prevention.
Noela Algie from Baulkham Hills received the Senior Volunteer of the Year for her 12 years of volunteering service at the local Vinnies Retail Op Shop.
Jade Pinar from West Pennant Hills, Hornsby Shire, won the Young Volunteer of the Year due to her one year of volunteering at the Story Factory’s Creative Writing workshops at Telopea Public School.
Meanwhile, Hills Relay for Life took home the Volunteer Team of the Year a few months after its successful fundraising in 2023. The recent Relay raised over $350,000, which is the highest in all of Australia this year. The event’s proceeds will be donated to The Cancer Council to fund their cancer research and treatment services.
The two-decade-long fundraising event held annually raised a total of $6 million for the fight against cancer.
Multiple volunteers and community members from Hawkesbury were also acknowledged for their services and dedication to the community. These include St John Ambulance – Hawkesbury City Division members, volunteers such as Adam Wilson from Digital Literacy Foundation, and Doreen from the Windsor Downs.
Hills and Hawkesbury Mayors Dr Peter Gangemi and Sarah McMahon, Mark Hodges MP, and Julian Leeser MP attended the ceremony.
The Award Ceremony held at Castle Hill is part of the ceremonies that will occur in different regions. As of writing, three areas other than North Western Sydney successfully held their respective ceremonies. The awards will conclude on 24 October, with 25 Regional Award Ceremonies in total.