Long serving Devonport community volunteer and businesswoman Pat Kent was today named as Devonport’s Citizen of the Year at the city’s annual Australia Day celebrations.
Mrs Kent developed the first canteen at the Spreyton Primary School offering healthy food for students and to raise funds for much needed school equipment. She also implemented improved business practices in the family businesses, guiding both businesses to receive accreditation to Australian standards.
Over several years Pat also served as a volunteer member for the judging panel for Lions Youth of the Year.
Following her retirement Pat joined Probus in 1997 and with two other members developed a new constitution for the club to comply with Incorporation. She also joined the National Council of Women of Devonport which led to an interest in Local Government.
Mrs Kent is an enthusiastic volunteer member of the Devonport Jazz Taskforce and a volunteer courier for the Devonport Library, delivering books to the housebound for many years.
She has served roles as a community representative for the development of the East
Devonport Community Development Plan 2008, the Tiagarra Special Interest Group,
Devonport Regional Gallery Special Interest Group, the Public Art Special Interest Group Committee, which was formed to develop a Public Art Policy for Devonport in 2010 and the Arts, Culture and Tourism Special Strategic Committee in 2015 and 2016.
Mrs Kent also initiated a public art brochure for Devonport and a community arts project for East Devonport and established the Village People Group in 2015 to raise the profile of East Devonport and lobby Council for improvements to the area which is ongoing.
In 2015 she received a Diamond of Devonport Award and was awarded life membership of Probus in 2017.
Caitlyn Walker’s work in empowering young women saw her named Young Citizen of the Year.
Caitlyn established Girl In Power, a business which aims to reach out to young women by performing interactive talks in schools along the North-West Coast and through its web page.
In partnership with a friend, Caitlyn organised a Gala Ball at the paranaple centre last year to raise funds for Engender Equality, which supports those affected by family violence. The event raised $22,401, which will be used to provide training for Engender Equality staff and ongoing care for those affected by family violence.
The 2019 Oceania and Australian Laser Championships, conducted by the Mersey Yacht Club, in January last year, was named as the Community Event of the Year.
Tasmania hosts the Oceania and Australian Laser Championships event every six years and Devonport was the first venue outside of Hobart to host the event in Tasmania since 1975.
More than 150 competitors from 10 countries and across Australia competed in the event, with some supporters/competitors staying for up to three weeks. As a result, bed and breakfast operators were booked out for 10 days at a time which also benefited local restaurants and other tourism sites.
It is estimated that Devonport received a $4.7 million economic boost on the back of the championships which drew an estimated 600 visitors boosting accommodation nights throughout the North-West region.
The Mayor, Cr Annette Rockliff, paid tribute to all award winners.
“All recipients – and in fact all nominees – have done their bit to make Devonport a better place to live, work and play,” she said.
Cr. Rockliff also welcomed 23 new citizens at the ceremony held in the paranaple convention centre.
Vicki Purnell, the city’s 2020 Australia Day Ambassador, was the guest speaker.
Vicki grew up in the Midlands and on the North-West Coast.
After graduating from the University of Tasmania Vicki taught maths and science in schools on the West and North-West Coasts before retiring in 2012.
In April of 2013 her good friend, Anna Connelly, gave birth to a stillborn baby girl called Bridie.
Utilising her sewing skills, Vicki started a project called Bride’s Blossoms and Blessings to ensure that every miscarried and stillborn baby in Tasmania was clothed and farewelled with respect and dignity.
Vicki’s project has grown to support those with dementia, women undergoing treatment for gynaecological cancer and women and children at a local women’s shelter.
She was recognised for her volunteer work by being named the 2019 Local Hero for Tasmania.
Image: Photo of the award winners with Mayor Annette Rockliff (Robert Sly representing the 2019 Oceania and Australian Laser Championship, Pat Kent the Citizen of the Year and Caitlyn Walker the Young Citizen of the Year)