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2016 Warrnambool Citizen of the Year - David Atkinson

2016 Australia Day award winners

News Article Date: 
Thursday, 21 January 2016

Tireless community advocate and former Warrnambool mayor David Atkinson OAM has been named 2016 Warrnambool Citizen of the Year.

Mr Atkinson will be officially recognised as part of the Warrnambool City Council Australia Day celebrations at the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens on January 26.

A Warrnambool City Councillor for 19 years, Mr Atkinson also served as the city’s mayor between 1990-1992, 1998-2001 and 2006-2008.

Passionate about aged care, he was a Lyndoch board member from 1994 until 2015 and has sat on more than 30 Council and community committees.

Mr Atkinson was awarded a medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2003 “for service to the community of Warrnambool, particularly through local government”.

Mr Atkinson said that he was honoured and humbled to receive the award.

“I’m very proud of the fact that I’m involved in Warrnambool and I most certainly thank the community for this honour,” he said.

“I just like being involved and doing things. I’ve gotten myself involved in all of the voluntary work I can get in to and I’ve taken on as much as I can… but I’m starting to slow down a bit now.

“I’d like to see more people get involved in voluntary work because that’s what makes our city a real community.”

The Young Citizen of the Year Award has been won by Warrnambool City Youth Councillor, Lyndoch volunteer, Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre fundraiser, Lighthouse Theatre volunteer, Biggest Morning Tea host, Fun4Kids Festival volunteer and Propeller Project scholar Tom O’Sullivan.

The winner of the Community Event of the Year goes to the Primary Performers, which in 2015 saw the musical Dorothy in Wonderland brought to the stage.

Primary Performers is a prominent fixture on Warrnambool’s annual theatre calendar and over the years has helped instil in hundreds of young performers a great appreciation of live theatre.

Local Achiever Awards were bestowed on Lex Caldwell, Dedy Friebe and John Maddock.

Mr Caldwell is the head gardener at the former Fletcher Jones factory, volunteering many additional hours and coordinating a small group of volunteers to maintain the Pleasant Hill site.

Mr Friebe is a former teacher, principal, football umpire and is currently the executive officer at Warrnambool and District Foodshare, distributing tens of thousands of kilograms of food to families in the south-west district.

Mr Maddock is a Warrnambool Swimming Club office bearer, Swimming Victoria official, former umpire and now life member of the Warrnambool and District Football Umpires Association. He is also a Justice of the Peace, office bearer with the South West branch of the Honorary Justices Committee and a committee member of Standing Tall in Warrnambool.

Warrnambool mayor Kylie Gaston thanked each of the award winners for their significant contributions to Warrnambool.

“Warrnambool is a beautiful, vibrant and liveable place and it is through the efforts of community champions such as these that make our city what it is,” Cr Gaston said.

“Australia Day is a time when we reflect on Australian values such as generosity, inclusiveness and a willingness to lend a hand. Our 2016 Australia Day award winners certainly have those attributes.

“I look forward to personally congratulating each award winner on Australia Day and I’m sure there will be a strong community turnout for what is always a terrific celebration of our democratic, multicultural nation.”

The free event gets under way at 10.30am and concludes at 4pm.

More information on Australia Day in the gardens

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