Community volunteer Cecily Burkett has been named Gladstone Regional Council’s 2013 Australia Day Citizen of the Year.
Ms Burkett was selected as Citizen of the Year by Gladstone Region Councillors, earning the award ahead of a strong field of candidates.
Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers said Ms Burkett’s award was deserved recognition for the Boyne Island resident’s dedicated work with a number of organisations.
“Strong communities are built upon the efforts of people such as Ms Burkett whose selfless commitment to multiple community organisations is valuable beyond measure,” Cr Sellers said.
“This award recognises Ms Burkett’s outstanding community service and is a way for Council and the community to say ‘thank you’ for all that she has done to help others.
“It is testament to Ms Burkett’s community involvement that she was chosen for the award ahead of a high calibre list of nominees, all of who have also made exceptional public contributions.”
Ms Burkett is heavily involved in the Boyne Island Lions Club she joined in 2004, currently serving as secretary and publicity officer.
She is also the club’s Youth of the Year chairperson, encouraging senior high school students to participate in the annual public speaking competition in which she is also a judge at club, zone and regional levels.
As Boyne Island Low Vision Support Group chairperson Ms Burkett has raised funds to keep the organisation afloat and prepares monthly outings, transport and social interaction for members.
As a Boyne Tannum Arts Business and Community Inc member Ms Burkett also volunteers her time as stall co-ordinator for the group’s popular monthly Beach Arts Music (BAM) events, and she has been an active member of the Gladstone Legacy Association for more than six years.
The 75-year-old’s generosity also benefits the St Peter Chanel Catholic Church where she serves as commentator, Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and Pastoral Leadership Group secretary, in addition to sorting donations and mending damaged garments for St Vincent de Paul.
The 2013 Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year Award was presented to 17-year-old Emily Young.
Ms Young, who completed her studies at Gladstone State High School in 2012, is a passionate advocate against international poverty and social injustice, raising funds and campaigning for a number of events and organisations which shared these concerns.
She also campaigned against the unethical production of cotton and cocoa by writing to multinational companies which support the practice as well as government officials.
Ms Young sponsors a child through a charity program and has raised funds for several charities including Shave for a Cure and Beyond Blue, as well as participating in community events including International Women’s Day, Anzac Day, Red Shield Appeal and the ULEAD leadership program.
As Gladstone High vice captain and long term member of the school’s Interact Club, Ms Young also helped raise funds for Relay for Life, Zimbabwean Forgotten Children and 40 Hour Famine and has travelled to the Philippines to witness the work of Christian charity organisation Compassion.
Cr Sellers was pleased that humanitarian and community concerns were alive and well in the younger generation.
“Ms Young is a shining example to her peers, and to older community members, of what can be done to assist those in need of a helping hand,” Cr Sellers said.
“As a region we are proud to have young people of the calibre of Ms Young and the other outstanding Young Citizen of the Year Award nominees living within the community and hope that they will become our community leaders of tomorrow.”
Winners of 2013 Australia Day awards are:
- Citizen of the Year Award: Cecily Burkett
- Young Citizen of the Year Award: Emily Young
- Senior Cultural Award: Colin Sandland
- Junior Cultural Award: Mikayla Birthisel
- Young Sports Person of the Year: Michael Daly
- Senior Sports Person of the Year: Cheryl Ogden
- Sports Official of the Year: Rebekah Pearce
- Community Event of the Year: Gladstone Harbour Festival