2023 Local Celebration Awards hit high note

Our community’s ‘night of nights’ took place on Thursday 17 August at St Marys Rugby League Club, celebrating some of our region’s most enthusiastic, compassionate and selfless residents for their outstanding contributions to the people and City of Penrith.

Approximately 150 guests came together to celebrate, including the seven honourees of the Local Celebration Awards:

• Our 2023 Citizen of the Year, rugby league icon and local legend Royce Simmons

• The Mayor’s Local Hero for 2023, much-loved community leader Andrew Paech

• Our 2023 Young Citizen of the Year, youth advocate Reece Nuttall

• The four recipients of the Making a Difference – Community Service Award: Margaret Collier, John Fenton, Kevin Canning and Susan Hunt, all of whom are dedicated volunteers

The event also honoured 2023 recipients of the King’s Birthday Honours and Australia Day Honours, many of whom were also in attendance, including:

• Elizabeth Stockell PSM, recognised for outstanding public service in supporting the recovery of disaster-affected communities in NSW

• Gai Hawthorn OAM, recognised for her service as a prominent community leader and ambassador

• Leisa McGivern OAM, recognised for services to children as a foster carer

• Denise Robens PSM, recognised for outstanding public service in classroom teaching

• Stephen Thorpe PSM, recognised for outstanding public service in driving change and innovation in Corrective Services NSW

• Preetpal Singh ACM, recognised for significant achievements as Network Systems Manager with Corrective Services NSW

Apologies were sent by honourees Bill and Karyn Borg OAM who unfortunately could not attend but were recognised for their contributions to the rugby league community.

Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen said the honourees are our City’s angels, innovators, mentors and advocates, and there are so many people grateful to them and inspired by them.

“It’s this appreciation and admiration that compelled so many to nominate them and ensure their unwavering dedication and valuable work is recognised,” Cr Hitchen said.

“People who are passionate about strengthening community spirit help to bring out the best in others, and in themselves,” Cr Hitchen concluded.

Meet the honourees of the Local Celebration Awards and learn about their stories at penrith.city/local-celebration-awards

Image Captions:

Pic 1, from left to right: Young Citizen of the Year Reece Nuttall, Mayor’s Local Hero Andrew Paech, Citizen of the Year Royce Simmons, Community Service Award Winner Susan Hunt, Mayor of Penrith City Councillor Tricia Hitchen, Community Service Award Winner Margaret Collier, Community Service Award Winner John Fenton, Community Service Award Winner Kevin Canning

Pic 2, from left to right: Elizabeth Stockell, Gai Hawthorne, Denise Robens, Mayor of Penrith City Councillor Tricia Hitchen, Leisa McGivern, Preetpal Singh, Stephen Thorpe

Pic 3, from left to right: Mayor of Penrith City Councillor Tricia Hitchen with 2023 Citizen of the Year Royce Simmons

/Public Release. View in full here.