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Inspiring citizens honoured in Ipswich Australia Day Awards

Mayor Teresa Harding with Citizen of the Year Glen Smith.

Community arts champion Glen Smith is the 2021 Ipswich Citizen of the Year.

Mr Smith, along with other award nominees and winners, was honoured on Wednesday at the annual Ipswich Australia Day Awards held at Ipswich Civic Centre.

A leader in the city’s art’s scene, Mr Smith has brought local artists together and fostered opportunities for them to develop their skills and bring their work to the wider Ipswich community through his role as president of volunteer group ArtsConnect.

He is also a big supporter of local charities, regularly using his own artistic skills to support organisations including Domestic Violence Action Centre, Ipswich Hospice Care, Legacy and the Animal Welfare League.

Mayor Teresa Harding congratulated Mr Smith on his contribution to the creative sector and the Ipswich community.

“Over a decade ago Glen made the life changing decision to quit his 12-hour-a-day finance job. He picked up a paint brush for the first time since school­, and our creative scene has been richer ever since,” Mayor Harding said.

“His community spirit runs deep as he has shown time and time again through his support of local charities, including last year when he organised a cent auction to raise more than $3,300 for Pine Mountain District Rural Fire Brigade following the devastating bushfires of early 2020.

Young Citizen of the Year Blake Wesbro.

“I congratulate Glen as well as all the other nominees and winners in the 2021 Ipswich Australia Day Awards on their wonderful achievements and remarkable contributions to our city.”

About 50 nominations were made for the 2021 Ipswich Australia Day Awards. Finalists and winners in each category were selected by an independent judging panel.

The winners of this year’s Ipswich Australia Day Awards are:

Citizen of the Year Award: Glen Smith

Glen is a leader in the city’s arts scene. He has brought local artists together and fostered opportunities for them to develop their skills and bring their work to the wider Ipswich community, particularly through ArtsConnect. He has also been a big supporter of local charitable organisations, often providing artworks for charity auctions.

Senior Citizen of the Year Award: Pamela Lane

Pamela enjoyed a successful career as a registered nurse and midwife, beginning in 1966 and working her way up to become CEO of the West Moreton Health and Hospital Service in 1993. Upon her retirement, Pam accepted a position on the board of the West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local. She has also served on the boards of TAFE, Ipswich Hospital Foundation and Ipswich Hospice Care.

Young Citizen of the Year Award: Blake Wesbro

Blake is a proud Aboriginal youth with Wiradjuri heritage. Blake works for Wesbro Services. Wesbro is a NDIS Registered Aboriginal Disability Service Provider which is an inclusive organisation working with all people. Blake is also a driver in the Ipswich Black Coffee network which assists in generating the strength and capacity of indigenous businesses.

Cultural Award of the Year: Toni Risson

Toni is a hugely successful Ipswich author and artist. She has published children’s books, cultural histories, short stories and articles and numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She has won various prizes and awards, most recently the Estelle Pinney Short Story Prize.

Sport and Recreation Award: Calvin Hegvold

Calvin began coaching athletes in basketball and rugby league in Ipswich and Met West teams in 1991. This is his 30th year of coaching, all in Ipswich. During that time he has coached in 39 separate State Championships in club and school basketball and rugby league.

Spirit of Ipswich Award: Zoe Knorre

Zoe operates Engage Psychology and works as a volunteer leading and directing Grace Homestead Recovery Centre, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre for mothers with children. Zoe spent two-and-a-half years establishing the centre and a further two-and-a-half years advocating for women to local and state governments.

Community Event of the Year: Queensland Fire Appeal – Cent Auction

The Queensland Fire Appeal – Cent Auction brought the community together in response to the devastating bush fires in early 2020. Raising $3,300 for one of Ipswich’s Rural Fire brigades to purchase much-needed new lifesaving equipment. After much research the funds were donated to the Pine Mountain District Rural Fire Brigade.

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