An exceptional line-up of Novocastrian women were recognised at the City of Newcastle 2022 Citizen of the Year Awards.

2022 Citizen of the Year Lauren Parker, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Jan Chamberlain, Ashley Harrison and Hunter Peace Group Members Diane Barrack, Lynda Forbes, Judy Morley and Beth Moran.

Among this year’s recipients was Silver Paralympic medallist and three-time world para-triathlon champion Lauren Parker who was awarded 2022 Citizen of the Year.

University of Newcastle law and business student Ashley Harrison was named Young Citizen of the Year, Jan Chamberlain was named Newcastle’s Senior Citizen of the Year and Community Group of the Year was awarded to Hunter Peace Group.

The intimate award ceremony was held at the City Administration Centre on January 24 where Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes gifted the recipients their awards.

“These awards are for very worthy Novocastrians who have gone above and beyond in our community particularly over the last twelve months, which proved to be an exceptionally challenging year again for us all,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Often these people can be the quiet achievers in our community who have demonstrated excellence in their field whether it be through sport, community service, or activism.

“They are the everyday Novocastrians who bring recognition and pride to our city.”

Paralympian Lauren Parker was awarded 2022 Citizen of the Year following her results in Tokyo and on the world series circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Parker’s success came less than five years after she was told she would never walk again after a cycling accident left her paralysed from the waist down.

“I’m honoured and humbled to be named the 2022 Newcastle Citizen of the Year and so very proud to be an ambassador for my city and for every person who faces daily challenges of any kind,” Parker said.

“I choose to live my best life despite overwhelming adversity, and I continue to make that choice every day, I hope the recognition that I have now received will encourage others to do the same.

“Every day since the accident has been a physical and mental battle but training and representing Newcastle helps me channel the pain into a positive outlet and show others that they too can achieve their dreams no matter what life throws at them.”

Cr Nelmes said Lauren had proudly represented Australia and Newcastle on the world stage and perfectly epitomises the Citizen of the Year title.

“Lauren’s never-give-up attitude inspires countless Novocastrians, and she achieves anything she sets her mind to,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Her strength and resilience are admirable, always giving 110 per cent despite the daily battles we don’t see, managing ongoing pain from her injuries.”

Young Citizen of the Year recipient Ashley Harrison was recognised for her start-up social enterprise, Verified Associates, which advocates for and helps young women avoid exploitation through revenge porn, phishing, and impersonation.

Senior Citizen of the year was awarded to Jan Chamberlain who leads Hamilton South Community Solutions.

The dedicated group works to improve the amenity of the area, hosts community workshops and helps to reduce the stigma surrounding social housing.

Community Group of the Year was awarded to Hunter Peace Group for its advocacy in re-affirming Newcastle as a Nuclear Free Zone—a declaration first made by late Lord Mayor Joy Cummings AM in 1982.

Hunter Peace Group is working with the City of Newcastle to establish a dedicated Hunter Peace Park in Tighes Hill.

Hayley McMahon