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Australia Day Award winners announced

Marilia Pereira has been named the 2014 Australia Day Citizen of the Year as recognition of her work with sufferers of Parkinson’s disease.

Mrs Pereira originally moved to the Shoalhaven to run Australia’s first Neurological Nurse Educator Pilot Project, a program designed to provide people in remote areas access to a high level of care.

When funding for the scheme ran out, Mrs Pereira lobbied the government and sourced additional funding to ensure the continuation of the program.

Mrs Pereira also received strong financial support from the Shoalhaven community through private donations and the continued supply of a motor vehicle.

Mrs Pereira travels over 30,000 kilometres in helping sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, their families and carers feel less isolated.

Further to this, Mrs Pereira volunteers her time in providing community awareness and further education regarding Parkinson’s disease and other neurogenerative conditions.

Mayor, Joanna Gash said Mrs Pereira was an exceptionally deserving recipient of the 2014 Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award saying her actions had provided immense comfort to the local community at a time of need.

“I would like to congratulate Mrs Pereira, on not only being named the 2014 Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award recipient but her amazing work in the field of neurogenerative conditions,” said Clr Gash.

“Through her ongoing commitment, Mrs Pereira has helped ease the isolation, concerns and burden placed on the sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, their families and carers.

“Mrs Pereira has also received strong praise and thanks from local doctors, health care professionals and aged care facility staff for her continual education and community awareness programs.”

“As well as giving talks to support groups and other neurogenerative disease seminars Mrs Pereira was recently invited to address a selected group of Parliamentarians at Parliament House.”

“The Australia Day Awards provide an opportunity for Council to recognise those residents who continue to give tirelessly to the community.”

“I would like to congratulate all of the award winners and also pay tribute to those that were nominated, through your combined efforts you have all made the Shoalhaven such a special place to reside.”

Other award winners include –

2014 Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year Award

After moving to the Shoalhaven in 2011, Elicia Dearsley worked to form a calisthenics club in Berry.

After two years of hard work between Ms Dearsley and her coach, Diamond Calisthenics was officially opened in February 2013.
Ms Dearsley continues to undertake much of the groundwork within the club including choreography, coaching, marketing and music selection.

Further to this, Ms Dearsley is an active member of the Berry Community Church, co-leads, SHINE a bi-weekly primary school aged girls group and also serves as Kids Church Leader.

2014 Australia Day Sports Award

Kyah Gray captained the NSW under 18 Indoor Hockey Team to a Gold Medal at the 2013 Australian Championships.

The past 12 months has also seen MS Gray represent the NSW Open Women’s Indoor Hockey team at the National Titles where she received a silver medal as well as the NSW under 21 Field Hockey Team who also received a silver medal at the National Titles.

Further to this, Ms Gray is a member of the NSW (Open Women’s) Arrows AHL Field Hockey team that won bronze at the National Titles.

Ms Gray is currently touring Europe as part of the Australian Open Women’s Indoor Hockey Team.

2014 Australia Day Junior Sports Award

After moving to show jumping from equestrian at 14 years of age, Jamie Priestly has already represented Australia in numerous competitions.

Competing in a show jumping tournament in Germany in 2013, Ms Priestly received a sportsmanship award for her positive attitude, friendliness and terrific riding over the week long competition.

While competing at the 2013 Royal Easter Show, Ms Priestly won the competition after recording a personal best jump and Olympic height of 1.63m.

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