Donna Collins from Mudgee's We Care Community Shop has been named as the Mid-Western Citizen of the Year at the award ceremony at Robertson Park on Friday, January 26.
Awards were presented by Mayor Des Kennedy and Australia Day Ambassador, Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO.
Donna runs the We Care Community Shop in Mudgee, and is dedicated to supporting the disadvantaged within the community.
"Honestly I really don't know what to say, what a huge honour. To be recognised by your peers and by your community is just huge," she said.
"I work with the most amazing group of women, this is not a solo effort. Without my team, none if this would happen. So this award is not only for them - like Cal Jones from St Vinnies who works her butt off. The group from Can Assist who I have so much respect for. Every other volunteer... everybody who volunteers in our community - this is who this award is for, so thank you for the recognition. Thank you all so much."
Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to Ninoska Birchall. She was awarded the Mudgee Show Young Woman in 2023, and was a recipient of the RASF rural scholarship in 2022. Ninoska was a state finalist in the 2019 RAS Boer Goat Young Judges competition.
Community event of the year was awarded to the Henry Lawson Festival Gulgong. "The Henry Lawson Festival is a community-driven event that attracts thousands of people. The event is a cultural touchstone celebrating Gulgong's rich history," the citation read.
Glen Johnston Memorial Award, Music and Arts was posthumously awarded to Toni Behrens. The late Toni Behrens was a local artist and business owner - TheMudFactory and The Art House. Through her businesses Toni held after-school workshops introducing a generation of Mudgee children to the joy of art. Toni was a much loved figure in the local arts community. Toni passed away from cancer in late 2023.
The Sports Award went to Katarna Robinson. "Katarna has achieved international and club level success in the sport of flat track motorbike racing. In 2023 Katarna competed in the USA and was awarded at the Grand National Championship for the Open Women's Class and was undefeated in the seven-day event," her citation read.
The Volunteer Services Award went to Robyn Jones. "Robyn is a tireless volunteer who dedicates her time to the Gulgong Hospital Auxiliary. Robyn also raises money for the 100 club at every event in Gulgong, and is a volunteer at the Gulgong Gold Experience," her citation read.