Carmel Higgins has been named Blue Mountains Citizen of the Year for almost 50 years of service to women’s sport.
Mrs Higgins was given the honour at the Blue Mountains City Council Australia Day ceremony at the Blue Mountains Theatre in Springwood. The award was for “devoting her time to coaching, mentoring, and running netball in the Blue Mountains for almost 50 years”.
“Carmel's first involvement in the sport was in 1970 when a Sister at St Finbars School was going to try to coach two teams for the newly formed St Finbar's Netball Club (St Finbar's Netball Club). She volunteered to coach her daughter's team and has continued to coach almost every year since,” said Blue Mountains mayor, Mark Greenhill.
“Over the past 47 years, Carmel has served as St Finbar's Netball Club president, secretary, umpires convenor, vice president, coaching convenor, publicity officer and uniform convenor.
“She is still a current and active member of St Finbar's Netball Club.
“In 1972 Carmel was the first person to obtain her National C umpires badge for the Blue Mountains Netball Association and a couple of years later obtained her National B badge.
“She has served as Blue Mountains Netball Association president, secretary, umpires convenor, draw secretary, vice president as well as serving on many sub−committees.
“Carmel was awarded the first ever St Finbar's Netball Club Life Membership in 1982 and was awarded a Life Membership of the Blue Mountains Netball Association in 1986.
“More recently Carmel has become involved in a project to open up the sport of Netball to older, less mobile women; the project is called Walking Netball. With Carmel’s dedication and enthusiasm it is envisaged this will become a popular event and open up the opportunity for many mountains ladies to be involved in and play organised sport.
“Now at 75 years of age, Carmel is still actively involved in coaching netball teams. She continues to be passionate about the sport and is dedicated to ensuring that young girls receive a thorough grounding in the many facets of the game.
YOUNG CITIZEN OF YEAR
Blue Mountains Youth Councillor Andrew Gunn was named Young Citizen of the Year in the ceremony at Springwood
“Andrew has given up his time to make sure the Blue Mountains community is a safe, fun and accepting environment for everyone, but particularly for young people,” said the council citation,” said the mayor, Mark Greenhill.
“Andrew has been an active and engaged Blue Mountains Youth Councillor since the start of 2016. During his time as a youth councillor Andrew has provided great support for the youth congress ‘Project NOW’ which led to his involvement in the Youth Summit Radio program.
“Through the Youth Summit Radio program, Andrew has given up his time to talk about and raise awareness on topics such as youth homelessness, abuse and mental health. He has also used this and other social media platforms to support LGBTQI+ rights, in the Blue Mountains and the greater Sydney Region.
“During the Christmas period Andrew was instrumental in making the Blue Mountains Community Christmas Tree fundraiser, including the event at the Lawson Swim Centre, take place.
“Andrew attended the 2017 NSW Youth Council Conference and YMCA NSW Youth Parliament program, both programs greatly contributing to his personal and professional development.”
COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENT OF THE YEAR
The Springwood Foundation Day Committee was awarded the honour of Community Achievement of the Year for reviving the annual event against the odds.
“Foundation Day has been held for over 20 years, with the exception of 2016, and is organised entirely by volunteers. The committee worked against the odds to bring the 2017 event to the community,” said the mayor.
“Springwood Foundation Day Festival celebrates the date April 27, 1815 when Governor Macquarie and his party stayed in the area on their way to Bathurst and decided to name the place Springwood.
“The festival celebrates the village’s heritage and showcases what it has become today.
“The 2017 event was a highly successful day with all funds raised going back into the local community.
“Community events make an important contribution to the vibrant cultural experience and regional economy of the Blue Mountains.”