Albany names Australia Day citizen award winners

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Albany Death Cafe’s Kate Thomas.
Camera IconAlbany Death Cafe’s Kate Thomas.

Albany’s Kate Thomas focus on death has earned her the Albany Citizen of the Year award for

Ms Thomas is co-founder of Albany’s Death Cafe.

She works as a trained nurse and a celebrant, spending her remaining time volunteering with Albany Death Café trying to break down the stigma of discussing death.

She has provided a safe and welcoming environment for many members of the community to share stories, advice and grieve of their loved ones.

Once a month for the past four years, the Death Cafe has met in Albany and enjoyed coffee and cake while discussing every-thing around the traditionally taboo topics of funeral planning, coping with grief and even building coffins.

Ms Thomas was one of 13 individuals and organisations nominated in Albany’s Australia Day Active Citizenship Awards for outstanding contributions to the community.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Young Citizen of the Year Award goes to Jasmine Reeves initiated the Kalgan Youth Club and a valued member Southern Edge Arts and PCYC.

Jasmine Reeves
Camera IconJasmine Reeves Credit: Albany Advertiser

Vernice Gillies was also awarded with Albany Senior Citizen of the Year goes for her dedication in promoting and protecting the heritage of the Noongar people in the region.

Albany Heritage Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation chairwoman Vernice Gillies at the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps.
Camera IconAlbany Heritage Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation chairwoman Vernice Gillies at the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps. Credit: Laurie Benson

She was praised for her commendable efforts in the return of Menang items from the British Museum.

Last but not least, Australia Day Active Citizenship Award goes to Headspace Albany for organising a successful Mad Hatter Tea Party event for the past five years.

The event involves more than 400 people from the community in activities to improve mental health and wellbeing of the community.

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington congratulated the winners at a ceremony at Centennial Stadium on Australia Day this morning.

“There are so many incredible people who work hard to make our city the wonderful community that we enjoy,” he said.

“To everyone who nominated someone for these prestigious awards, thank you for helping us recognise their invaluable work.”

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