City awards honour community effort

Blacktown mayor Len Robinson has announced the winners of the 2014 Blacktown City Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Event of the Year awards.

“The Australia Day Awards allow the community to recognise those who have provided remarkable service to a charity or or some other activity,” Cr Robinson said.

Leon Kessell of Blacktown was named Citizen of the Year.

James Irvine, 16, also of Blacktown, was named Young Citizen of the Year.

The Community Event of the Year award went to Midnight Basketball, Mount Druitt run by a volunteer steering committee which is led by community advocate Ron Bright.

The program allows people aged 12 to 18 to spend Friday or Saturday nights in a community program that offers fun, food, life skills and basketball in a safe and supervised area, followed by a safe ride home.

Mr Kessell was given the honour for his work as a volunteer tenancy consultant for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency’s Blacktown Community Centre.

He helps individuals and families find affordable accommodation, helping with paperwork, arranging meetings and securing bond money.

Mr Irvine was granted his award for his work within the community.

He attends St Andrew’s College, where he has received major academic awards.

Mr Irvine is a learning group leader, assistant peer support leader and member of the school’s choir.

Outside school he is involved in fund-raising for Relay for Life and the Make a Wish Foundation.

Mr Irvine was recently recognised with a Rotary Award for Citizenship.

Cr Robinson said: “Congratulations to Leon and James on a fine list of achievements.’’

Mr Kessell’s commitment to the community was a great reflection on him, Cr Robinson said.

‘‘He is making an enormous contribution to the lives of many people.

“Mr Irvine’s achievements identify him as a fine young man whose experience suggests great opportunities in the future.” 

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