Olympic medal winner Jessica Fox was one of six residents presented with a Penrith Australia Day award.
The awards are part of the Australia Day Council’s National program and recipients were nominated by their friends, family or peers as outstanding citizens who deserved a pat on the back for their community work.
Penrith City Mayor Mark Davies said: “They are people who have demonstrated excellence in their field and are inspirational role models to others in the community.”
Jessica Fox (Penrith), Penrith Citizen of the Year and Penrith Sports Person of the Year won a silver medal for canoeing in the 2012 London Olympics. In 2010, she won gold in the Singapore Summer Youth Olympics and a bronze in the Canoe Slalom World Championships.
Dr William Gayed (Emu Plains) Penrith Appreciation Award, has a long history of community work as a general practitioner, surgeon, former Penrith Mayor (1992-93), founder of the Senior Citizens’ Club in Werrington and local radio station WOWFM, plus he is a Coptic Achievement Award winner for his work and service with Egyptian Coptics in Australia. He also formed the Nile Family Association to help families from Egypt and the Sudan as well as the Sub Federation of Egyptian Migrants, and was a co-founder of the Arabic Medical Association.
Jan Bradley (Luddenham), Penrith Appreciation Award. She is a stalwart of the Wallacia and Mulgoa Rotary Club, having been its president twice in the past 12 years. She has also helped many local charities in donating furniture to the local youth homeless centre. She is a dedicated mother and grandmother; has three children and two step children and has hosted many exchange students from overseas.
Benjamin Egge (Claremont Meadows), Penrith Appreciation Award. His work as a corrections officer in a sex offenders jail inspired him to train females in self defence. He also coaches in anti bullying skills, work ethics and helping troubled people improve their self identity. He also runs a project to save a type of endangered Kite bird by securing land and ensuring a breeding environment for it – he had been inspired to do so as he said he loved watching the birds as a child.
Michael and Jo-ann Morris (Cranebrook), Penrith Appreciation Award set up a foundation, the Samuel Morris Foundation, to raise awareness about childhood drowning. They were prompted to set up the foundation after nearly losing their two-year-old son, Samuel in 2006 to a drowning accident. Samuel was left severely disabled. www.samuelmorrisfoundation.org.au
Penrith Council hosted a formal dinner to present the awards in the run up to Australia Day.
For more information about Council’s Australia Day at Penrith Lakes event on Saturday 26 January, visit the official event website: penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/ausday