Four of Gympie's brightest citizens were honoured with special awards on Australia Day 2021 (clockwise from top left): Deb Brown (Citizen of the Year), Flynn Hutchison, Charlee Griffiths (Young Citizen of the Year) and Florence Penny.
Four of Gympie's brightest citizens were honoured with special awards on Australia Day 2021 (clockwise from top left): Deb Brown (Citizen of the Year), Flynn Hutchison, Charlee Griffiths (Young Citizen of the Year) and Florence Penny.

Gympie’s Citizen of the Year ‘humbled’ by special honour

Gympie’s 2021 Citizen of the Year has never given much thought to accolades or any kind of personal glory, but decades of tireless dedication to community service made her a worthy winner of one of the region’s highest honours this afternoon.

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Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien named Deb Brown Citizen of the Year for her work with multiple groups including the Gympie and District Show Society, Gympie Jump Club and Matty Hillcoat’s Truckies Day Out in front of a healthy crowd gathered inside the Pavilion.

Deb Brown, winner of Gympie's Australia Day Awards Citizen of the Year 2021.
Deb Brown, winner of Gympie's Australia Day Awards Citizen of the Year 2021.

Ms Brown said she was more than a little surprised to hear her name called at the top of an impressive list of Citizen of the Year nominees.

“I’m absolutely humbled to tell you the truth, I probably never expected to even get nominated,” she sad.

“I’m always in the background, at an event I just like to be behind the scenes.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the event and the community that you’re actually servicing, so it’s not why you volunteer.

“All the people nominated have done and still do amazing things in the community, so they should be recognised. I’m very humbled to be among those people.”

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Ms Brown said it was that same selfless mindset that has kept her passion for volunteer work as strong as it was when she began with the Bauple QCWA at just 14.

Gympie Mayor Prayer breakfast – Michelle Perrett and Deb Rowlands.
Gympie Mayor Prayer breakfast – Michelle Perrett and Deb Rowlands.

“It’s just to have events that are in your hometown, and to be able to help other groups that come in, especially with the Show, the littlest schools that find it hard to fundraise and get the dollars to send kids on excursions,” she said.

“I came from a very small primary school and my mum had to get involved to even pay for our bus services.

“Once you become involved it’s the friendships, and the lifelong friendships you’ve made over time, and the fact that you can call on those people like they’re second family.”

Mayor Glen Hartwig congratulated Ms Brown on her well-deserved honour.

“It take as special person to give so much of their time for others. Debra is a very worthy recipient of this year’s award,” Mr Hartwig said.

GYMPIE CITIZENS OF THE YEAR – FULL LIST

Citizen of the Year – Deb Brown

Young Citizen of the Year – Charlee Griffiths

Cultural Award – Emma Schneider

Sports Administration and Youth Sports Award – Emma Duffey

Community Event of the Year – Gympie Showgrounds Farmers Market, Gympie Show Society

Special Australia Day Awards – Florence Penny and Flynn Hutchison

Gympie Times


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