Knox City Council has recognised five inspiring local residents in the Knox Australia Day Awards, honouring everyday heroes who have made an outstanding contribution to the Knox community.
This year’s Awards took place virtually. Winners were recognised for the generosity, passion, courage and sense of justice they demonstrate through their everyday lives, and the significant contribution they have made to the local community.
Congratulations to these awardees and all the volunteers nominated for this year’s awards.
Knox Citizen of the Year is Gayle Dye
The award recognises Gayle’s selfless service and generosity in helping the Knox community during
Covid-19. Although Gayle experiences major health issues, she continues her work in Share Space in a time when need continues to grow. A well-known resident of Rowville, people describe Gayle as ‘generous, genuine, humble, and selfless’. And today, we add one more word: ‘outstanding’.
On her own initiative, Gayle launched Gayle’s Share Space to provide material assistance for local people doing it tough. From her garage in Rowville, the Share Space has grown into a mini-supermarket providing food, hygiene products and household items. Gayle coordinates the donations of items from the Knox community and local businesses and creates packs for families in need. Up to 120 families per week receive help from the Gayle’s Share Space, including people experiencing family violence or homelessness.
Young Citizen of the Year is Sophie Ashdowne
Sophie is also recognised for responding to current needs. Sophie volunteers with the Pinchapoo Warehouse, which accepts donations of hygiene and household products and provides packages for those in need.
Volunteer of the Year is Maggie Hawkes
The sheer diversity and breadth of Maggie’s volunteering efforts is nothing short of outstanding. Local organisations who have benefited from her fundraising efforts include the emergency department of Angliss Hospital, Heathmont Bush Care, Friends of Sassasfras Creek, Habitat for Humanity, the Epilepsy Foundation and Vision Australia.
Elder Citizen of the Year is Barbara Edwards
The nomination celebrates Barb’s tireless commitment to looking after carers, especially those caring for a person living with mental health challenges. After a long career in teaching, Barb is now at the forefront of Ferntree Gully Family Support Group.
Barb’s journey has not been without challenges, yet she can always be relied upon as a tower of strength in life’s dark moments.
Sustainability Leadership Award goes to Anthony Bigelow
This is a new award that honours individuals making a significant positive impact on the local environment.
Anthony Bigelow has been nominated for his outstanding commitment and service to Dandenong Creek. He has served as both Vice President and President of First Friends of Dandenong Creek for the last six years. During this time, Anthony has initiated important sustainability projects to protect local flora and fauna, and reduce creek pollution.