Constituency Statement: North Sydney Community Awards

  • December 4, 2019

Last month I was very pleased to host my fourth North Sydney Community Awards at Norths Leagues Club in Cammeray. True heroes are all around us, often working behind the scenes doing extraordinary things for our community: in our schools and sporting clubs, caring for our environment or in the service of others, often helping people that they have never met but still care very deeply about. These heroes bring true meaning to the words ‘community’, ‘service’ and ‘achievement’. I am proud to represent a community where this spirit of volunteering is so strong.

At the awards, I was able to recognise the work of over 60 individuals and community organisations. Very big congratulations go to Jennifer Horrigan, who won the North Sydney Citizen of the Year Award this year. Jennifer received this award for her remarkable achievements as the chairman of the national charity Redkite. Redkite is a very special organisation that provides support to children and young people with cancer and their families across Australia. They provide support from diagnosis all the way through to final treatment. Jennifer’s personal efforts include running in the New York Marathon to raise money and awareness of Redkite. Her current goal is to raise sufficient funds to support 42 Australian families this year.

Oliver White was awarded the North Sydney Sporting Achievement Award for his dedication in becoming the 2019 Australian cross-country champion for the under-12 and under-14 boys in the three-kilometre race. Oliver showed great determination and grit by adopting a disciplined approach to training and always striving to reach his goal of becoming Australia’s best. He is a fine young man.

Stephen Jones received the North Sydney Older Person Award for his outstanding work for the charity he founded, called Kids Like Brett, which supports children with Nezelof syndrome. Stephen’s son suffered from this serious condition, and Stephen realised that more life-saving machines were needed and went on to raise more than $1 million for the Sydney Children’s Hospital.

Community group of the year was awarded to the Special Olympics dance group. The group does outstanding work by providing children and young adults who have an intellectual disability with the opportunity to dance, perform and put on concerts. This volunteer-run organisation meets every Saturday morning at Lane Cove West and provides the dancers and their families with a chance to catch up with peers, discuss issues and provide support to each other. I’ve had the opportunity to visit one of their Saturday sessions, and the enthusiasm of the participants and the parents is obvious.

These major category winners were joined by so many others representing our community, from the wonderful Pink Ladies who volunteer at Royal North Shore Hospital to individuals like the oldest winner, John Cran, who, at almost 92, is still playing the bassoon with the Willoughby Symphony orchestra. My special thanks go to Sebastian Robertson, chair and co-founder of batyr, who was our special guest and spoke about his important work reducing youth suicide; to Norths club, who hosted the event; and, last but not least, to Josie Ryan and Cammeray Public School Big Band, which provided wonderful music for the ceremony. Many thanks go to all the winners on their work for their community.