We are young, we are many
YEARS of volunteering saw Cecil Harris honoured for his dedication to the community when he was named Lismore citizen of the year for 2014.
The president and life member of Lismore RSL sub branch dedicates his time to helping others as the bus coordinator for Richmond Valley Day Club, bus driver for Oznam Villa and Caroona, and member of the Tuncester Rural Fire Brigade.
More than 200 people gathered at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre yesterday to congratulate the award winners and witness the citizenship ceremony.
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said without the millions of people who migrated to Australia and became citizens, the nation as we know it would be different today.
"Australia has been built as a country by new citizens arriving," he said.
United, the audience stood and read the Australian Citizenship Affirmation after Lismore's new citizens were welcomed to the community.
Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell congratulated the 27 people from countries including Nigeria, Fiji, India, The Philippines, Sudan, New Zealand, and Scotland who became Australian citizens.
She welcomed the new citizens on the 65th anniversary of Australian citizenship, which, over the years has seen 4.5 million people make the commitment to Australia and its people.
"This is the biggest number of new citizens on Australia Day I can remember, ever," she said.
"To be an Australian to me is to care for our community, our environment and our part of the world."
"Our Australian heritage is made richer by contributions from people of many nations."
Cr Dowell acknowledged the difficulty some of the indigenous community have in celebrating Australia Day, explaining it is not a day of exclusion.
"It is a day of pain for some aboriginal people and it is a day of survival for others."
"We all can celebrate respectfully without offending others."
"We all need to belong, to be a part of the community."
ABC broadcaster and Lismore's Australia Day ambassador John Clarke addressed the crowd and presented awards to council's award winners.
Following the announcement of Lismore City Council's Australia Day citizens of the year for 2014, the crowd reflected on how lucky they were to be Australians while enjoying a morning tea of lamingtons, Anzac biscuits, fresh fruit, tea and coffee.
Citizen of the Year - Cecil Harris
Aboriginal Citizen - Cindy Castella
Services in Community - Angela Mathew
Services in Community Group - RED Inc Signing Choir
Sportsperson - David McWhirter
Junior sportsperson - Anna-Leeza Hull
Sports Team - Lismore Netball 12 yrs rep team
Sustainable Environment - Lismore High School Sustainability Festival