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The calibre of all nominees in each of the four categories was very strong. The Australia Day Awards dinner is an opportunity for both Council and the community to shine a light on the amazing people we have living and contributing to our beautiful Clarence Valley.
Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year was awarded to Susan Howland for her leadership, dedication and life-long commitment to improving mental health services and empowering women in the Clarence Valley. Susan Howland is a leader and voluntary member of numerous Clarence Valley organisations including Our Healthy Clarence, Northern NSW Local Health District, Mental Health Forum, Light Up the Darkness, Local Health District Community Engagement Council, Clarence Valley Women Incorporated and CWA Maclean. For decades Susan has worked tirelessly, generally quietly behind the scenes, to make the Clarence Valley a better community, whilst also busily juggling family commitments. Susan is a mother of five children, a step-mother, mother-in-law and grandmother to her large extended family.
Young Citizen of the Year was presented to Brad Chapman for his passion for Australian military history and his dedication to raise awareness of the sacrifices our past Diggers made. Brad trekked the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea last year as part of the Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge. He has used his experiences from the journey to educate young people to put their best self forward and support each other.
The Clarence Valley Community Achievement Award was presented to the Pelican Playhouse in Grafton. The not-for-profit theatre nurtures and mentors local talent and provides the platform for upcoming actors and entertainers to begin their careers and gain the much needed start and confidence they require. The Clarence Valley community has been enriched, inspired and entertained by being on stage, and in the audience, at this local treasure.
The calibre of nominees for the Clarence Valley Local Hero Award was so high the panel presented two awards this year.
Don Frame of Copmanhurst was awarded the Clarence Valley Local Hero Award for his commitment and contribution in time and resources to the Copmanhurst Saddlery Museum. As well as playing a key role in setting up and running the museum since 2015, Don has done extensive research on local history and families. Thanks to Don's efforts the Copmanhurst community has a valuable resource for those wishing to learn about the history of Copmanhurst and surrounding districts.
George Priddle also received the Clarence Valley Local Hero Award. George’s most important achievement is actively working to keep the Cowper Bus Memorial Park in top condition, as a way of showing respect to the families of that tragedy. George is also an active member of the Maclean Lions Club. At 80, George goes for walks around the streets of Maclean collecting rubbish and drink containers to recycle. He donates all of the money earned to Maclean Lions Club.