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Communities crown their top citizens

Singer and choir coordinator Leanne Roobol and regional development leader Aileen MacDonald have been crowned as the Citizens of the Year in their communities, during Australia Day Award ceremonies in the Armidale region.

Ms Roobol was announced as Armidale’s Citizen of the Year during an awards ceremony in the city’s Central Park on Saturday, recognising her many years performing at key events in the region.

She was a familiar face at Saturday’s ceremony, after performing the national anthem at Armidale’s Australia Day events for 18 years, along with ANZAC and Remembrance Day ceremonies and an array of conferences.

The Armidale resident has also provided choirs for a number of the city’s popular community events.

Guyra’s 2019 Citizen of the Year, Mrs MacDonald was recognised for her roles as a member of Council’s Regional Growth Committee and past President of the Guyra Business Chamber.

The town’s 2019 Australia Day Award winners were confirmed on Friday night during a dinner at the Guyra Bowling Club.

Mrs MacDonald has been a strong advocate for economic development in the Guyra district, including an expansion of the area’s horticulture industry. Ms MacDonald was a leading campaigner for the Malpas Dam to Guyra water pipeline and improvements to Mother of Ducks Lagoon, and has sowed the seeds for a New England Rail Trail.

Her two terms as President of the Rotary Club of Guyra brought many successes for the club and she served a term as secretary of Rotary District 9650.

The awards and community celebrations are coordinated by Council, with Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray and the region’s Australia Day Ambassadors, celebrated rugby commentator Gordon Bray and gold-medal-winning Paralympics swimmer Tiffany Thomas Kane, on hand to present awards.


Other award winners

Armidale Regional Council Mayor’s Award: Lyndon Hardman – Founding member of the Armidale-based Classic and Specialist Car Club of Northern NSW. Mr Hardman has quietly pursued his passion for motor vehicles and love for the region over many years. It has been a love learnt from his father, ‘Curly’ Hardman, who had a motor dealership in Armidale as far back as the 1930s. Mr Hardman is an active supporter of the Transport Museum to be located at the Armidale Regional Airport Industrial Park subdivision.

Lions Club International member for more than 60 years and a recipient of an international award from the organisation for exceptional long-term service.

Founder of a support group for men with prostate cancer.



Environmental Champion: Helen Webb – Established the People’s Park Group Landcare group and has coordinated a number of landcare projects along the banks of Dumaresq Creek.

Long-standing Service to the Community: Colin Gadd – A volunteer driving instructor, soccer and cricket official, Dumaresq Lions Club President and past councillor with more than 30 years’ service to the community.

Community Service: Debbie Quinn – Volunteer with the Recreation Access Project – to promote the wellbeing and interest of people with disability. Vice-Chairman of the North West New England Special Olympics Committee.

Contribution to Sport: Demon Knights Football Club – One of the region’s largest soccer clubs provided teams and coaching support for a number of Yazidi refugees in 2018. In the same year, the club reached Round 5 of the FFA Cup competition – a huge achievement for a regional club.

Sportsperson: Tim Murray – First Armidale golfer to win the Jewel of the Coast tournament at South West Rocks. In 2018, he also claimed the Armidale Golf Club championships for the eighth consecutive year, winning the 72-hole tournament by 22 shots.



Young Citizen of the Year: Bronte Stanley – The Guyra Central School captain organised a very successful Mental Health Day for the students, earned a place at the National Youth Science Forum and has excelled in swimming and the arts.

Community Service: Russell Roberts – The Ben Lomond Landcare and Rural Fire Service volunteer played a pivotal role in the inaugural Winter Fair and is a foundation member of the StarGrazing event.

Long-Standing Service: Kathleen Lorraine Varley – Service includes 10 years as Guyra Show Society Secretary, foundation member of the Kolora Aged Care Facility committee, Guyra Ladies Golf Club President and Catholic Church Finance Committee member.

Arts & Culture: Kay Smith & Brian Irving – Coordinated the Troutfest Art Show and provided a lot of advice to young artists.

Sportsperson: Braydon Cameron – The 16-year-old was a member of the Under 19 side that finished runner-up at the Sire Garfield Sobers Cricket Tournament in Barbados. Trained at the Central Northern NSW Academy for cricket, coached a number of junior teams and scored 228 not out at an Open schools cricket tournament.

Contribution to Sport: Jason Campbell & Luke Blyton – Coached the Guyra 12s rugby league team with great success in the Group 19 competition. The team achieved the season’s highest points tally, claimed the Best & Fairest player prize and demonstrated great sportsmanship.

Community Event of the Year: Passion on the Platform – The Guyra & District Chamber of Commerce event attracted more than 100 people for a seven-course degustation at Guyra Train Station. The sold-out event shone a spotlight on local food producers.

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