Media Releases

Willoughby’s Citizens of the Year

26 January 2017

The Willoughby Citizen of the Year Award has been presented to two outstanding individuals in the community, Janet France and Grant Sheldon

The Citizen of the Year Award recognises community members who live and/or work in Willoughby, and contribute significantly to the betterment of the Willoughby community. Due to the outstanding level of nominees this year, the judging panel selected two residents to receive the Award.

Grant Sheldon is an active representative on the Combined Churches of Northbridge Committee, is involved with St Marks Anglican Church and Northbridge Football Club, volunteers at St Marks Pre-School Committee and Northbridge Progress Association. Grant also facilitates school holiday programs for children in Walcha, NSW and teaches religious studies at Northbridge Public School.

In addition, Grant organises a local Pre-Christmas toy collection for disadvantaged children and multiple charities across Australia and has coordinated the Northbridge ‘Clean Up Australia’ event since 2007.

Janet France has demonstrated a strong commitment to helping create a more sustainable and healthy community through her involvement as a key coordinator at the Dairy Community Garden at Warners Park, as well as being co-founder of the North Shore Climate Action Group and current Chair of Willoughby Council’s Sustainable Reference Committee.

Janet also volunteers as an English teacher at the MOSAIC Centre, teaches at many local primary schools and shares her interest in music and sustainability at the Repair café each month with a local Willoughby Ukulele singing group. Her community contributions were also recognised in 2014 when she was awarded a Rotary Achievement award.

The 2017 Cultural and Community Building Award was presented to Venerable Ru Yi. Ru Yi is Superintendent at the IBAA Chatswood Buddhist Centre, a leader in the Buddhist and Chatswood community and provides guidance and support for local cultural events and counselling to those in need.

“Congratulations to Grant, Janet and Venerable Ru Yi for their enormous contribution to the Willoughby community,” said Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney. “Their strong involvement and commitment to the betterment of the community is inspirational and gives us role models to aspire to,” she said.

The Awards were presented at Willoughby Council’s Australia Day celebrations at The Concourse, Chatswood, which included a citizenship ceremony and address by Australia Day Ambassador, Tiffany Thomas Kane. At the ceremony, Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney also recognised the recent passing of 2016 Citizen of the Year winner, Judith Brady.

“Judith was a beloved member of the community and made many outstanding contributions throughout her life, including her 53 year service with Meals on Wheels as a volunteer, her involvement with Northbridge Golf Club and the setting up of community radio station, Northside Radio,’ said Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney.

“Judith’s contributions made a considerable impact on so many people’s lives and her presence in the community will be greatly missed,” she said. 

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