Brighton citizens honoured for community contributions

MARK Bartlett and Angela Knight, who formed the Bridgewater and Gagebrook Clean-up Group dedicated to cleaning up rubbish in the Bridgewater and Gagebrook areas, have been presented with this year’s Citizens of the Year award by the Brighton municipality.

Mark Bartlett
Mark Bartlett
Angela Knight
Angela Knight

The presentations were made at Brighton Council’s Australia Day awards ceremony last month. Maja Veit who is an award-winning young entrepreneur and founder of Silver Hill Fisch, was the Brighton Australia Day ambassador for the event.

Sue Riley
Sue Riley

Other awards presented were: the Community Event of the Year,  the Brighton Christmas Pageant, the Volunteer of the Year, Sue Riley, the Young Citizen of the Year, 12-year-old Kobe Bennett.

Kobe Bennett
Kobe Bennett


Presenting the awards, Mayor Tony Foster said he was extremely proud to see so many people working hard to make the entire Brighton municipality a wonderful place to live and work.

Cr Foster said the work that had been done by all recipients was a reflection of the many people that were doing excellent work within the community and he commended the recipients for their tireless efforts.

Brighton's Australia Day award recipients with Mayor Tony Foster
Brighton’s Australia Day award recipients with Mayor Tony Foster

Mark Bartlett has lived in Gagebrook nearly all is life and while he was walking around ‘door knocking’ for the Red Shield appeal he noticed the state of the area and how much rubbish was in our streets.

He wondered what he could do to help make the streets and the area cleaner.  He wanted to show everyone that residents are not layabouts and that they care about where they live. So Mark created a group where the community could work together to make the area look good again.

The group’s aim is to clean the rubbish from the streets and to further beautify the local area, which they believe, in itself will lose any perceived stigma about the Bridgewater and Gagebrook communities.

There have been a number of successful clean-ups making a difference to a number of areas, and they are working towards the annual Clean-up Australia day event which happens in March each year, throughout the country.  Previous years Community Blitz has participated in the annual Clean-up Australia Day with Council officers providing support and trucks for collecting and removing the rubbish.

Over the past year, Mark and Ang have featured a number of times in the Mercury newspaper and have given a number of radio interviews. Their Facebook page shows how much works has been undertaken and how many people care about their community and the work that has been done by the group under Mark and Ang’s care.

There are a number of service providers assistng them including Jordan River Service who have helped with volunteer insurance, Minister David Llewellyn’s office providing flyers, Bridgewater Community Centre’s coordinator Chelsea Barnes who has been a huge supporter as has Sheryl Rainbird from Centacare Evolve Housing.

Volunteer of the year Sue Riley has been a member of the New Life Christian Church for more than 20 years, is currently on the board and Treasurer,  has been on the Board for seven years and treasurer for the past three years. She also delivers the Sermons on a regular basis and fills in for the Pastor when he is away.   The New Life Christian Church hold their sermons here in the Civic Centre of a Sunday morning.

Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian group for which she collects shoe boxes for children in under developed countrie. Sue helps run and contributes to this program in the Church. She also helps with Chrismtas hampers at the church and distributes them to the needy families in the area, many of which Sue are familiar with.

Sue has been a respite carer in the area for children in foster care since the early 2000s  and has opened her home to families who are awaiting housing placements .  She is always helping out families in our community in a quiet unassuming way.

Sue has also been involved with Herdsmans Cove Primary School for more than 30 years, as a parent and volunteer at the school for 10 years.  She has been employed for the past 20 years as a teacher’s assistant and she has seen many families in the area come through this school.  She is now seeing those students’ grand children coming through the school.  Sue is a well- known at Herdsmans Cove School and in the community, working in the Launch into Learning and Kinder programs.

The Young Citizen of the Year award was presented to Kobe Bennett.  A young man with wisdom well beyond his years, Kobe wrote a book, The Only House in the Desert which described his experience living in a violent home and his ideas to protect the human rights of children everywhere.  This book is a candid and powerful explanation of living with family violence through his eyes.  The book is now being used in various services and organisations as a family violence training tool and is inspiring agencies to understand and support children living in family violence situations better.  His book and associated poetry including Something My Father Would Do has been shared internationally and has been used in the redesign of Canberra’s Centrelink services for customers experiencing family violence.

This year’s event of the year, the Christmas Parade was organised by Brighton Alive with Sheryl Rainbird from Centacare Evolve Housing.

A total of 20 floats participated on the day with approximately 250 people participating on the floats, while hundreds watched from vantage points along the route.

Cr Foster said the parade was a fantastic initiative that provide an overwhelming feeling of good will within the community and allowed different sector      in the community to come together from all over the municipality, including Old Beach, Brighton, Gagebrook, Herdsmans Cove, Bridgewater and Mangalore, on the outskirts of the municipality.