TAMWORTH is full of dedicated volunteers but on Australia Day three stood out from the crowd.
Tamworth Regional Council mayor Russell Webb said it was an honour to recognise not only the winners but also the nominees for their contribution to the community.
"Tamworth like many communities survives on volunteers," he said.
"There are a lot of people who go well and truly above and beyond what would be expected of anyone to do".
Meet your local Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Mitchell Brady Encouragement Award winner below.
Ian Hobbs - 2021 Citizen of the Year
His dedication to keeping Tamworth's electrifying history alight has earned Ian Hobbs the title of Citizen of the Year.
The Powerstation Museum volunteer has spent 24 years educating locals and visitors about Tamworth being the first city in Australia to be lit by electricity.
"It all started well before the museum," he said.
"I started collecting different photographs and things about the Powerstation and Tamworth's electrical history."
Ensuring this important part of Tamworth's history is treasured is what motivates Mr Hobbs to keep volunteering.
"It's something to be proud of."
Mr Hobbs said he didn't expect to take out the award, but was thankful and humbled by the recognition.
While the museum was closed for much of 2021 due to COVID, Mr Hobbs said he hoped the new year would see it remain open, so he could continue what he loves, whether that be building new displays, mentoring new volunteers, or showing visitors around.
Isla Farr - 2021 Young Citizen of the Year
The Young Citizen of the Year crown went to Isla Farr for her active role in advocating for those living with disabilities through her work with the Tamworth Disability Action Working Group and the Tamworth Regional Youth Council.
Ms Farr, who lives with cerebral palsy, said she was eager to help the community have more empathy towards young and disabled people.
"I just really want to be able to have my own input, as a young disabled Australian, into how the council and how Tamworth operates as a whole around disabled people," she said.
Ms Farr is currently setting up programs and running accessibility events to make Tamworth a more inclusive city.
But the new year is set to be even busier, as she takes on the role of Vice Captain at Oxley High School.
"I'm the first wheelchair using captain that the school has had, which is very exciting," she said.
Ms Farr's mum Allison accepted the award on her behalf at Wednesday's ceremony but Isla said she was incredibly excited when she found out she had won but equally humbled.
"I don't think the work I do as a volunteer should be this massive thing," she said.
"If it helps even a few people then that's all I need to know that all I've done is worth it."
Abbie Peet - 2021 Mitchell Brady Encouragement Award
Thirteen year old Abbie Peet was awarded the Mitchell Brady Encouragement Award for her outstanding athletic performance.
Despite living with cerebral palsy the versatile athlete has taken out gold in both sprinting and long distance and broke her own record for the 100 metres last week in Maitland.
The four time Australian record holder said she felt "really happy" to accept the title, but her sights were still set on making sure other people with disabilities knew they could achieve anything they wanted.
Ms Peet achieved three of those records last year at the Australian Para Athletic Events.
Beyond her incredible athletic abilities, Ms Peet takes the time to encourage others to get involved with community activities, and is a role model for those with special needs.
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