Kids in Community president Des Kelly takes a back seat as Gabriel Matur Thiongkol is sized up by Michael Gates, of the Lismore Bridal Shop, for his big weekend trip to Sydney.
Kids in Community president Des Kelly takes a back seat as Gabriel Matur Thiongkol is sized up by Michael Gates, of the Lismore Bridal Shop, for his big weekend trip to Sydney. Jacklyn Wagner

A stand out choice in awards

STANDING nearly two metres tall, Gabriel Matur Thiongkol makes quite an impression – but that’s not why the 20-year-old from Sudan has made such a big impact on Lismore.

“When he arrived in Lismore he did his HSC,” Kids in Community president Des Kelly said. “He now helps other refugee kids to assimilate and get their HSC.

“He’s been a mentor for other kids since he came.”

That work has earned Mr Thiongkol a winning mark in the celebrated Against All Odds category in the Kids in Community Awards, and yesterday he began preparing to receive his prize.

Mr Thiongkol, who lived in refugee camps from the age of four until arriving in Lismore three-and-a-half years ago, will head to Sydney this weekend for a black-tie function with celebrated actor Rachel Ward, who sponsors the award category with regional airline Rex and her actor husband Bryan Brown. It will be followed by a polo match and barbecue on Sunday.

Yesterday, Mr Thiongkol was at the Lismore Bridal Shop, which is providing his suit for the function, for a fitting with its owner, Michael Gates.

He scrubs up well, but his height made the fitting a challenge for Mr Gates.

“He’s a size 42, extra, extra long,” Mr Gates laughed.

Immigration visit

OFFICERS from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will visit Lismore next week to discuss various immigration-related issues with locals.

The team visits Lismore on November 10, from 9.30am to 3pm. Call 6621 9909 to book.



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