City of Rockingham recognise top citizens at Australia Day awards

Indigo Lemay-ConwaySound Telegraph
Community Citizen of the Year Amber Bates, left, Young Community Citizen of the Year Madelyn Ball, Mayor Deb Hamblin and Senior Community Citizen of the Year Betty Jean West.
Camera IconCommunity Citizen of the Year Amber Bates, left, Young Community Citizen of the Year Madelyn Ball, Mayor Deb Hamblin and Senior Community Citizen of the Year Betty Jean West. Credit: City of Rockingham/supplied/supplied

A number of hard-working local residents have been formally recognised for their outstanding community contributions at the City of Rockingham’s 2022 Community Citizen of the Year Awards.

The awards, held on Australia Day, acknowledge individuals and organisations that have made a notable contribution during the current year or those who have given outstanding service over a number of years.

Amber Bates was recognised as the Community Citizen of the Year for her work as co-founder and Chair of Tiny Sparks WA, a leading charity for high-risk pregnancies and babies born sick or prematurely.

Ms Bates represents the ‘pre-term’ community in an advocacy position as chair of the Preterm Consumer Reference Group at the Telethon Kids Institute, and is Deputy Chair of the Consumer Advisory Council at the Child and Adolescent Health Service.

“To be honest, it’s a little bit surreal,” she said of her win.

“I think there are so many people doing amazing things in our community and to be singled out and recognised is very special.

“I got a letter from the City telling me to come to the ceremony because I was a nominee, but I had no idea I was actually going to win it until it was officially announced. I was totally lost for words but so thankful.”

The Senior Community Citizen of the Year was won by Betty Jean West for her long service work with several community groups including Rockingham Football Club, Warnbro Primary School P&C, Baldivis Pony Club as well as her advocacy work on behalf of Defence veterans.

Madelyn Ball received the Young Community Citizen of the Year award for her contribution to the local community as a member of the Rockingham Youth Reference Group. In this role, Ms Ball was a key part of the group that helped to establish the Rockingham Youth Centre.

Presentation of the Community Citizen of the Year Awards was held prior to the City’s Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony, during which 137 people officially became Australian citizens at the Gary Holland Community Centre.

Mayor Deb Hamblin thanked the award winners for the positive change their work has brought to the community.

“The Community Citizen of the Year Award winners for 2022 have demonstrated leadership, initiative and active citizenship, which has significantly contributed to the value of community life in Rockingham,” Ms Hamblin said.

“The City gratefully acknowledges their outstanding efforts and we also congratulate the City’s newest Australian citizens. This event is the City’s largest citizenship ceremony held each year and we are thrilled to welcome new citizens from countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom, India and New Zealand.”

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