Tweed citizens shine at Australia Day awards
TWO Paralympians, one Olympic medallist and a 12-year-old charity king have been honoured for their contribution to the Tweed at a special Australia Day service at Twin Towns today.
Hundreds of residents were on hand to congratulate the recipients and later welcome 50 new citizens at the annual Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards.
Paralympian Bill Chaffey was awarded the top honour of Tweed Shire Australia Day Citizen of the Year for his commitment to the Tweed Shire Access and Inclusion Awards.
Representing Australia at the Rio Paralympics last year, Mr Chaffey, who is also a policeman at Tweed Heads, was recognised for his tireless work in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities.
"The awards acknowledge and promote fair and equal access inclusion to business and the wider community in the Tweed Shire,” Mr Chaffey said.
"If my sporting achievements can help to promote those awards then I'm happy with that.
"It's a good thing to encourage businesses and individuals to make a difference for people with permanent injury or a disability.”
Mr Chaffey said he was honoured to have won the award in the same year as Professor Alan Mackay-Sim received national recognition for his ground-breaking work in stem cell research.
"It's so fitting that the Australian of the Year is Professor Mackay-Sim who works so hard for spinal stem cell research and to receive the citizen of the year on the same day as him is quite special,” Mr Chaffey said.
Tweed swimming stars, Paralympian Kate Wilson and Olympian Matt Abood, took out the Tweed Shire Australia Day Sports Achievement of the Year.
The Community Event of the Year was awarded to three groups, including Kingscliff Lions Club for its district convention, Tumbulgum community for its 150 year anniversary celebrations and the Kids in Need Dragon Boat Day.
Twelve-year-old Sam Smith took out the Young Achiever in Community Service award for his Kids in Need (KIN) Day event.
The Arts and Cultural Achievement award was given to the organisers of the Tweed's Battle of the Bands contest.
Meanwhile, the Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce president Mark Humphries for his work supporting SALT SLSC and also to Shirley Kunnell for her commitment to a variety of Murwillumbah and Chillingham charities and community groups.