Valley honours its unsung heroes

DERWENT Valley locals who have gone above and beyond to help the community were recognised in this year’s Council Australia Day Awards. Held on Australia Day last week, the awards recognise achievements from people who make the Derwent Valley a better place to live.

Derwent Valley Mayor Michelle Dracoulis said Council was pleased to award the following people:

Jamie Brown – Young Citizen of the Year
FROM the age of 12, Jamie was a junior firefighter, selected to represent New Norfolk in the state competitions each year, becoming an under-age active firefighter at 17. He has battled some of the biggest fires our state has seen, including a 12-hour night shift at the Pelham fires, and he is one of the onsite firefighters at the speedway. He has participated in many various community activities and fundraisers, including multiple Clean Up Australia Days, the Red Shield appeal, and Relay for Life. And, through his boxing involvement, he even got in the ring with Jeff Fenech to raise money for kids who had been bullied. At the age of 19, he bought his first house one street away from the fire station to cut down his response time when the pager goes off.

Justin Benson – Citizen of the Year
JUSTIN is a born and bred Derwent Valley local with more than 30 years of volunteering with the Tasmania Fire Service, as well as being a career firefighter for the past 15 years. He has served on the New Norfolk Golf Club Committee and volunteers with the New Norfolk Junior Football Club and New Norfolk Cricket Clubs. During the last state election, he secured funding for the new goal posts, player and coaches boxes and new score board for the New Norfolk Junior Football Club and Tynwald Park oval. He has held school association roles at both Fairview Primary and New Norfolk High Schools, and undertakes a yearly fundraising event to raise awareness for the treatment and support of those diagnosed with brain cancer where he has raised more than $16,000 across the past five years events.

Tyler Benson – Sports Person of the Year
2022 saw Tyler having to overcome two separate sporting injuries to continue to excel in his favourite sports, AFL and cricket. Last February, Tyler sustained a broken jaw at cricket training which required emergency surgery but he missed only the first two weeks of junior football and needed another two weeks off mid-season to have the surgical plates removed. He attracted enough Best and Fairest votes to be equal winner of the New Norfolk Junior Football Club under 16.5 t award. This was Tyler’s fourth best and fairest, which is a first in the club’s history. 2022 saw Tyler also play Colts, Reserves and had a debut senior game of football for the New Norfolk Eagles where he received a broken collarbone in the last quarter, again requiring surgery to repair. After these two injuries, Tyler recommenced playing cricket for the 2022/23 season and at the time of nomination, was the leading run scorer and wicket-taker for the Under 17’s premier league cricket for Glenorchy. On top of all of these sporting achievements, Tyler is a junior volunteer firefighter with the New Norfolk fire brigade.

Marg Cranney – Senior Citizen of the Year
WHETHER it’s serving on committees for community organisations, monitoring orange-bellied parrots at Melaleuca, planting trees for Greening Australia, participating in Clean Up Australia Day or working with the New Norfolk Lions Club, Marg loves working with other people who are passionate about making a positive contribution to their community. Marg, who moved to New Norfolk from Canberra in 2016, was a member of Neighbourhood Watch for two years and in 2018 joined the Lions Club of New Norfolk where she currently holds the position of Secretary. Marg is a member of the Derwent Valley Family and Youth Action Network and writes a column in the New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News and organises guest speakers for their TYGA FM program, “Community Central with Tim and Tanya”. Marg is also member of the Derwent Valley International Women’s Day Committee and helps promote and organise their annual Women’s Day breakfast, as well as supporting the Derwent Valley Suicide Awareness Day committee.