Being raised to know the value of giving back has shaped the community service ethos of Albany’s 2021 community citizen of the year Jeremy Stewart. The Albany Community Foundation co-founder said he was “blown away” to receive the top honour at the City of Albany’s Australia Day ceremony on Tuesday. The ceremony also celebrated 25 new Australian citizens who beamed with pride as they recited their affirmation in front of family and friends at Albany Entertainment Centre. Mr Stewart was recognised for leading ACF volunteers to raise more than $550,000 to support community groups and locals doing it tough since 2014. He was also awarded for his work as president of the Manypeaks Cricket Club and as board member of Albany Finance and Business Great Southern. Mr Stewart said he hoped his volunteer work could inspire others. “I’ve always been very fortunate that I have been brought up to think about others and give back to others,” he said. “This is just my way of contributing to a wonderful community and a place that I love to live. “I am privileged enough to be able to contribute and help those that are less fortunate and that’s what really drives me. “The more people that we can inspire to contribute to the community the better.” Albany Community Foundation’s Ashley McPhail was named young citizen of the year for her volunteer work at the not-for-profit organisation. Ms McPhail has dedicated hours to reviewing financial assistance applications, helping to co-ordinate fundraising events, general administration and as youth liaison on the foundation’s board. The City of Albany’s senior citizen of the year was musical stalwart Colin France. Mr France has been heavily involved the local music scene since 1976 and had an integral role in the purchase of the Albany Music Centre on Lancaster Road. He has been a key part of the Albany City Band for decades in the role of bandmaster, president and musician. Mr France said it was an honour to be recognised. “I just enjoy music, I enjoy sharing and I enjoy being involved,” he said. “You don’t think about winning awards, you just think about being involved ... giving back to other people and encouraging other people to be in it.” Read Write Now Albany received the active citizenship award for a community group or event. For more than 40 years, local volunteers have provided tutoring for adults to improve literacy skills. More than 20 current volunteers help locals work towards their literacy and numeracy goals such as seeking employment, getting their driver’s license or reading to their children. Co-ordinator Christine McConigley said it was “astounding” to hear their name called out. “It is also recognition for our students... because most of the people that we see have had the most appalling experiences at school and hopefully, some recognition like this, may encourage people,” she said.