Australia Day Honours: Women top the list of inspiring citizens

A YOUNG woman who established a foundation in memory of her older sister killed in a motor scooter accident while travelling overseas has been named Rockdale Council’s Young Citizen of the Year.

Kate Fitzsimons was one of three women recognised for their outstanding contributions to the community at a ceremony on Sunday.

They were honoured at the council’s annual citizen awards which was part of its Australian Day celebrations at Peter Depena Reserve, Dolls Point.

Rockdale mayor Shane O’Brien named the Rockdale City Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Sportsperson of the Year.

Citizen of the Year was Patricia Will, a Bexley resident for 60 years.

Mrs Will assists community organisations in St George.

In 2001 she established Gabbie’s Sewing Angels with four other women, who make clothing for children in Australia, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, New Guinea, the Solomons, Samoa and the Philippines.

Two years ago she went to Timor Leste to teach women how to sew.

The group, which expanded to more than 24 volunteers and includes men, has created more than 5000 garments such as beanies, knitted toys and rugs.

Volunteers work from home or at St Gabriel’s Catholic Church. 

Kate Fitzsimons, 22, launched the Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation after her older sister Nicole, 24, was killed in a motor scooter accident in Thailand in 2012.

The foundation gives presentations on the dangers of riding motorcycles in countries with few regulations, and the importance of travel insurance. 

Ms Fitzsimons, of Sans Souci, has visited more than 30 schools in the past year.

She also helps talented artists and sportstars achieve their goals.

Sportsperson of the Year was Tania Minutolo, 16, a St George and state discus representative.

She has participated in National All Schools events for the past four years and has also represented the region and the state in shot put and javelin.

She has won NSW medals in all three sports in the past decade.

Ms Minutolo is a member of St George District Association, Port Hacking 

Little Athletics and the St George Netball Association.

She also coaches the under-14 netball team at St Ursula’s College, Kingsgrove.

Outstanding: Kate Fitzsimons. Picture: Chris Lane

Outstanding: Kate Fitzsimons. Picture: Chris Lane

The three award winners (from left) Kate Fitzimons, Patricia Will and Tania Minutolo. Picture supplied.

The three award winners (from left) Kate Fitzimons, Patricia Will and Tania Minutolo. Picture supplied.

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