Community campaigners and tireless volunteers have been recognised in the Whittlesea and Hume Australia Day awards.

Doreen resident Darren Peters was named Whittlesea’s Citizen of the Year for his work campaigning for the rail line to be extended to South Morang and Mernda.

Mr Peters was the driving force behind the campaign, leading a group of volunteers in the South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance to help secure commitments to build the railway.

The council named youth volunteer Thomas Marcus as the Young Citizen of the Year.

He has been a youth member of St John’s Ambulance since 2012 and is also involved in the Mayor’s Youth Cabinet and Baseline for Young People’s youth equity strategy.

Whittlesea’s Margaret Jolly was named Senior Citizen of the Year for her involvement with groups such as Whittlesea Opportunity Shop and the Whittlesea Court House.

Kylie Carlson was named Access and Inclusion Citizen of the Year for her contribution to making libraries more inclusive.

The Wollert Fire Brigade was named Community Group of the Year.

Mayor Kris Pavlidis said Whittlesea was fortunate to have so many people in the community who gave their time so
generously.

“Volunteers play a very important role in our community, expecting so little in return for their selfless contributions,” she said.

In Hume, Attwood resident Rick Byers and Craigieburn’s Jason Moore shared the honour of being Citizen of the Year.

Mr Byers was recognised for his long service to the Attwood Community Centre, as well as his work with Hume’s youth as president of Westmeadows Auskick and volunteer work through the Essendon District Football League’s development squad.

Mr Moore is credited with being the driving force behind Craigieburn’s Relay for Life, as well as serving as president of the Craigieburn Basketball Association for 10 years. He also volunteers at Highlands Parkrun and initiated 3064 Sporting Groups, which brings together local sports groups to help enhance sport and recreation in Craigieburn.

The Anzac Day service at the Craigieburn War Memorial was recognised as the Hume Event of the Year.

 Darren Peters. Photo by Damjan Janevski.