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Gregory rises amongst raft of references

3rd December 2020

Hamley Bridge local, Richard Gregory, has been announced as Wakefield Regional Council’s Citizen of the Year for 2021, after a lengthy consideration across a huge spike in nominations.

Each year on Australian Day, Council recognises and congratulates the winners of this award, as well as Young Citizen and Event of the Year.
A “tireless contributor”, Richard has put years of loyal service into local groups and clubs, including as Captain of the Alma CFS Brigade, Chairperson of the Community Association, Secretary of the Community and Sport Recreation Centre and trainer and now retired umpire of the Adelaide Plains Football League.

His dedication to local sport is matched only by his eager involvement in many events and fundraisers through his role at the Community Association.

He continues to be an integral member of the Hamley Bridge Golf Club where he marries his passion for golf – one he shares with son Stuart – with his willingness to give back and leave a legacy for future generations.

One nominator highlighted Richard’s keen attitude to hard work and his dependably: “a wise man once said if you want something done ask someone who is always busy as they will get the job done. That someone is Richard Gregory.”

Wakefield Mayor Rodney Reid said Richard should feel very proud of his achievements, which span over many years and feature heavily in the Hamley Bridge story.

“It’s uncommon for us to receive this many nominations for one person, but when it happens you know this person has made a lasting impact on people,” Mayor Reid said.

“Richard has been involved in a mix of different projects and events. Hamley Bridge is his life’s passion, his community is everything, and we are indebted to his contribution.”

The Young Citizen of the Year award will be presented to Kristin Carling, who balances a full-time job with volunteering into a long list of responsibilities at the Blyth Tennis Club and Blyth Snowtown Netball Club.

Taking on her first official role as junior netball coach at age 15, over the last twelve years she has gone on to coach two teams to Grand Finals in 2010, 2017 and to the Preliminary Final in 2019.

It’s not just from the sidelines where Kristin shines, since age 20 she has cemented her place as a member of the netball committee, where she organises social events, coordinates umpires and looks after the club’s newsletter.

A year later she undertook the mammoth responsibility of North Eastern Netball Association Recorder, collecting, checking and inputting scorecards for the whole association; eight clubs in total.

All her leg-work is for the enjoyment of players and club members, as well as the boarder community, which she also serves through her role in the Blyth Town Management Committee as Assistant Treasurer.

The Community Event of the Year will be presented to the Mid North Ladies Wellbeing Gala, an event focused on bringing together local ladies and raising awareness of a network of likeminded women that exist to support each other when times get tough.

2020 presented many challenges on a worldwide scale, with many impacts also experienced locally.

Months of uncertainty and challenged resulted in a feeling of disconnect in the community, with many individuals also experiencing increased anxiety and vulnerability.

When the restrictions were gradually relaxed to allow larger gatherings, Nikki McCracken, Bonnie Michael and Alisha Senior recognised the need to bring people together again and celebrate.

The ladies collaborated with Balaklava Area Committee to present the Gala – held on Saturday 1 August 2020 in the Balaklava Sports Club (Ralli Park).

The event aimed to support as many local businesses as possible and was catered by the Royal Hotel Balaklava and Wendy’s Café and Cakes, flowers by Daisy Lane and music by local Liam Greenslade.

Former Hummocks netballer and founder of Positive Outlooks, Emma Ward spoke about the power of positive thinking within resilience, equipping attendees with new skills to draw on in the future.

The opportunity for local women to “kick off their zoom attire” and frock up for the occasion was long awaited after weeks of isolation, and so was the time spent hanging out, catching up and talking opening about mental wellbeing for women in regional communities.

Mayor Reid congratulates all award recipients and thanks all who nominated someone.

“Council are once again impressed with the award selection this year, our region continues to champion the heroes of our community who make it the great place to be,” Mayor Reid said.

The dates and times of our Australia Day ceremonies will be advertised in the new year.