Australia Day 2020 Awards for Knox locals

Back L to R, Sam Jelley, Neil Morriss, Gary Cantwell, Sam Heydon
Front L to R, Erica Peters, Jeanette Spencer

Knox City Council marked Australia Day 2020 by honouring some of its leading community members and by welcoming those who have become our newest
Australian citizens.

An appreciative crowd supported the recipients of the Knox Local Australia Day Awards 2020 at the Civic Centre. Nominees were recognised for their selfless spirit, dedication and leadership in the service of our community.

The 2020 recipients are:

Citizen of the Year: Gary Cantwell

Gary was nominated for his ongoing commitment and dedication to the Knox Community, for supporting people with disabilities and especially enabling the bowlers amongst them to enjoy a game at the Ferntree Gully Bowls Club.

Volunteer of the Year: Neil Morriss

Neil was nominated for his many volunteer activities with the Knox Community Baptist Church and St Pauls, the Fairhills High School school council, with excess food distribution and musical entertainment and as a Bridges driver.

Elder Citizen of the Year: Jeanette Spencer

Jeanette was nominated for her 50 year commitment to volunteering with the Girl Guides, Scouts and Little Athletics and her street Christmas concert.

Local Hero: Sam Jelley

Sam was nominated for being a passionate advocate for LGBTIQ+ young people. Sam was involved in creating, producing and promoting the film Masked, which explores the journey of a young transgender person as they come to terms with gender identity and negotiate the difficult process of coming out. He is active in promoting awareness of these issues in the wider community.

Environmentalist of the Year: Erica Peters

Born in Ferntree Gully, Erica was nominated for her ongoing commitment to the environment. Erica is a Knox Environment Society committee member and a foundation member of the seed and survey team.

The KES seed and survey team travels around Knox and surrounding areas doing vegetation surveys and collecting seed across the municipality, work which is often quite difficult. She is a part of the propagation team which works to grow over 80,000 plants per year.

Erica has been responsible for all the paperwork for the KES Rare and Threatened species program which involves sorting and organising approximately 6,000 plants of the Knox City Council Rare and Threatened species order. Erica is also a Gardens for Wildlife
volunteer, visiting gardens across Knox to help people care for their gardens by giving advice and writing reports.

Young Citizen of the Year: Sam Heydon

Sam is President of the Rotary Club sponsored Fairhills High Interact Club. Sam organised a trivia night to raise funds for materials for a voluntary school trip to Cambodia and has shown insight and leadership in his volunteering, including within the Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment. Competition is fierce for the program so it was no mean feat on Sam’s behalf. Sam also represented the country of Jordan at a Rotary developmental program called the Model United Nations held in the Victorian State Parliament.

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