Awards recognise the people who make Bundy special

THE 2015 Australia Day Spirit Award recipients were recognised in an official ceremony on Sunday, January 25.

Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said it was an honour to meet the award recipients who had given so much to the Bundaberg region.

"Our region is a special place to live and that's because of the generous, inspiring people who make up our community," Cr Forman said.

"This ceremony goes some way towards recognising the efforts of just a handful of the people out in our community making a difference."

He said each year dozens of worthy residents were nominated across the 11 categories and this year was no different.

"It's never easy to sit down as a council and pick just one winner in each category when we have so many compelling nominations submitted.

"However we are confident that residents will agree that the 11 recipients of the 2015 Australia Day Spirit Awards are more than deserving of our congratulations for their passion and commitment to the development and progression of the Bundaberg region."

The winners of this year's Australia Day Spirit Awards were:

  • Citizen of the Year - Nigel Dick

Nigel, through Bundaberg Players Inc, has been dedicated to the development of theatrical arts in the Bundaberg region. Among his achievements is the establishment of the Youth Theatre Project and the recent sell-out production of Phantom of the Opera. Nigel has clearly demonstrated his passion for theatre through his participation in many local productions.

  • Senior Citizen of the Year - Arthur Begeda

Arthur has provided 49 years of service to the Bundaberg region through his professional career as a teacher and principal of various schools and through many other school, church, community and sporting organisations. Of note is Arthur's 23 years of service to Carinbundi Respite Services for People with Disability, including six years as president.

  • Young Citizen of the Year - Callum Colasimone

Callum was described in his nomination as a quiet achiever who has led from the front during his years at North State High School. He was heavily involved in flood recovery initiatives, facilitated the collection of Christmas food hampers for those less fortunate and previously represented his school with distinction at the National Maths Team Challenge and National Science Competition for a number of years.

  • Community Spirit - Noel Searle, James Anderson and Graham Plath

This trio has marked 50 years of continuous service to the Bundaberg community through the Bundaberg Lions Club. They have been involved in many projects including the establishment of Lions Park on the northern banks of the Burnett River, the establishment of Meals on Wheels in Bundaberg and the construction of the Rats of Tobruk Memorial and Lions Remembrance Park.

  • Community Event - The Ability Ball

In 2014 the Ability Ball was held for the second time with huge success, offering a great night out for those attending, many of whom had never before had an opportunity to put on a ball gown or suit. This is now an annual event with the next ball to be held in conjunction with the International Day of People With a Disability.

  • Sporting Spirit - Matthew Davis

Matthew has represented the Moore Park Surf Life Saving Club since 'Nippers', has claimed Australian records and was recently chosen to captain the Australian Youth Surf Life Saving team to compete in the Netherlands for the BeNE cup and German Cup. He went on to become Youth Champion at both events.

  • Junior Sporting Spirit - Philip Kovacs

Philip, 15, has made some big achievements during his short boxing career representing his state and his country. In 2014, this included Australian boxing champion, Queensland boxing champion, Golden gloves boxing winner and Vanuatu boxing winner.

  • Creative Spirit - Alice McLaughlin

From her home studio Creation Station in Apple Tree Creek, Alice has inspired dozens of residents through her artistic guidance, particularly in pottery and painting. The multi-award winning artist opens her home to anyone wishing to learn and keeps local artists informed of the opportunities available to them to display their work.

  • Junior Creative Spirit - Mantshologane Maile

Mantshologane is strongly focused on her goal to one day adorn the world stage having studied drama for six years and recently taken an interest in Shakespearean Drama, prose and poetry. In the 2014 Bundaberg Eisteddfod, she received seven first prizes and four highly commended.

  • Green Spirit - Ray Johnson

Ray is passionate about growing trees, is president of the Gin Gin Landcare group and is well known to Landcare volunteers across the district. He is a driving force behind the group's native plant nursery which supplies thousands of trees each year for re-vegetation projects.

  • Business Spirit - Dr Andre Conradie

In his role at the Friendlies Hospital, Dr Conradie has championed the need for more convenient regional access to specialised cardiac advice and to the latest technology in heart surgery. He was described in his nomination as having an excellent work ethic and being an asset to the Bundaberg and Wide Bay Community.

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