Brighton’s citizens recognised for community contribution

THIS year’s Brighton Council citizen of the year is Fiona Kingston, the founder of the Girl Guides in Brighton municipality and strong community advocate.

Fiona, and other award recipients, were officially recognised at Council’s Australia Day awards ceremony at the end of last month.

Other recipients are: volunteer of the year, Michael Gordon, young citizen of the year, Larissa Hall and community event of the year, The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia’s annual rally which was held in Brighton early last year.

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.

“While we can’t give awards to everyone, it’s so inspiring to see so many in our community helping others.  The awards we give out are very much reflective of our selfless community members who are ready to support each other whenever there is a need.  So, on behalf of Brighton Council, thank you to you all.”

Citizen of the year, Fiona Kingston, founded the Girl Guides in the Brighton area when her daughter wanted to join Girl Guides 11 years ago.

Through Fiona’s guidance the Girl Guides enables girls and young women to grow into confident self-respecting responsible community members.

In January last year Fiona lead seven girls and four adults on an experience of a lifetime, conquering the Overland Track, a six-day adventure encapsulating a 67 km journey of open plateaus with stunning mountain views to deep rainforest and waterfalls with 18-25 kg packs from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair.

In 2016 Fiona was awarded the Banksia Award by the Girl Guides Association.  She has also worked as a chaplain within the education department for several years, and through her work has had a very positive impact on local youth – both male and female.

Volunteer of the year is Michael Gordon a resident of Tea Tree who undertakes an enormous amount for the community of Tea Tree as well as many other organisations.

Michael is consistently writing grant applications in anticipation of securing additional funding for the Tea Tree Hall and surrounds so their long-term plan becomes a reality.

He has been successful in: having the much-needed toilets replaced by larger, modern and more centrally located ones; overseeing a meeting room extension; having solar panels installed to help with the Hall’s hot water and electricity bills; organising a playground for the younger children, a new barbecue and deck, and a new commercial kitchen which is about to be installed.

Young citizen of the year Larissa Hall is doing wonderful work with the youth of Tasmania in her numerous roles.

Larissa’s dedication and passion for working with youth comes from her own life experiences of living on the streets as a teenager and the obstacles and challenges she has faced to study and become a Youth worker.

Larissa’s career in youth work begun in 2014 when she was successful in applying for a certificate 4 Youth Work Traineeship with the newly established Youth Off the Streets.

Larissa worked in the Bridgewater/Gagebrook and Brighton communities providing outreach services to disengaged and at-risk youth.

Over the 14 months of her traineeship she built many strong worker and client relationships and helped many youths in the community.

The community event of the year is Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) rally which was held from March  13-19 and was the organisation’s 31st anniversary rally. Held at Pontville Park, it attracted 586 vehicles, 984 members with 240 volunteers putting in many long hours to pull the event off seamlessly.

Members spent their time attending special interest events, information seminars and local tours, as well as participating in a variety of arts and crafts.

Cake decorating lessons and jam-making proved very popular.  Members handed in 86 rugs, beanies, oncology bags and other garments which were donated to the St Ann’s Nursing Home in Old Beach. One hundred and forty-three teams played disc bowls, the largest competition ever held at an anniversary rally.

Local businesses in Pontville, Brighton and the surrounding area enjoyed a significant increase in trade and the Brighton Football Club raised more than five times its previous largest fundraising event by hosting breakfasts, serving meals and running the bar.