Penrith City’s 2023 Local Celebration Award Winners Announced

The honourees of the 2023 Local Celebration Awards have been announced at Penrith City Council’s July Ordinary Meeting.

Now in its third year, the Local Celebration Awards recognise outstanding contributions made by people in the Penrith community across four categories.

Our 2023 Citizen of the Year, with an overwhelming number of nominations, is local legend Royce Simmons. The rugby league icon has raised millions for dementia research through his ‘Royce’s Big Walk’ fundraising, following his own diagnosis at the age of 61.

The Mayor’s Local Hero for 2023 is Andrew Paech, a community leader who works tirelessly to support local people who are experiencing crises. He is well known for his work at Westcare, in flood relief and as one of the organisers of mental healthcare initiative Penrith Men’s Walk and Talk.

Our 2023 Young Citizen of the Year is Reece Nuttall, a youth advocate and proud Gamilaraay man. Reece has an extraordinary work ethic which he applies to helping others, volunteering with the Rotary Club, Penrith PCYC and as a committee member of the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council – all while in his final year of a law degree.

There are four recipients of the Making a Difference – Community Service Award. Margaret Collier is the co-founder of Caring Hearts Quilters, which handmakes quilts for people facing serious illness and in the wake of natural disasters; John Fenton has volunteered as the Wellbeing Officer with the Penrith RSL Sub-Branch for 22 years, assisting returned service people and their families; Kevin Canning is a founding member and one of the driving forces behind Penrith Men’s Walk and Talk; and Susan Hunt is a tireless volunteer with humanitarian organisation the Lion’s Club, disability charity Sailability as well as Ronald McDonald House.

Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen said that the Local Celebration Awards have been embraced by the people of Penrith, becoming an important milestone in our local calendar.

“We had more nominations this year than any year since the Awards began,” Cr Hitchen said.

“That shows that momentum is building; people want to recognise and uplift the unsung heroes of our community. The judging panel were bowled over by the acts of community service being carried out in Penrith City every day,” Cr Hitchen remarked.

Penrith’s 2023 Local Celebration Awards ceremony will be held on 17 August.

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