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Tireless volunteer named Singleton’s leading citizen

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A woman who has dedicated decades to supporting the local community was recognised as Singleton’s most outstanding resident for 2024.

At the official Australia Day ceremony at Singleton Civic Centre on Friday 26 January, Diana Thorning garnered the Citizen of the Year award.

The accolade recognised her tireless volunteer work with Uniting Elizabeth Gates Village, the Singleton Branch of Australian Red Cross, Singleton Tidy Towns and as a foster carer.

As well, Joss Davies was honoured with Young Achiever of the Year.

The commendation acknowledged her commitment to PCYC Singleton, supporting local youth through the PCYC’s school holiday program and her work with the Singleton Disability Advisory Committee.

Singleton mayor Sue Moore paid tribute to the winners.

“There is perhaps no better time of the year than Australia Day to recognise those among us who go a little bit further to make our community great and our Citizen of the Year, Diana Thorning, and Young Achiever of the Year, Joss Davies, do just that,” she said.

“I sincerely congratulate Diana on this prestigious honour, which recognises the invaluable contribution she has made to our community, its residents, and visitors to our beautiful town in many different ways over many years, and Joss for being a role model to our youth and a worthy recipient of our Young Achiever of the Year award.

“We’re very fortunate in Singleton to have so many residents who selflessly contribute their time and energy to making our community better for everyone.

“Any one of our nominees were worthy of this honour, too.

“I thank Alex Tigani, Kaye Atfield, Ronald Stokes and Bronwyn Dunston for all they do in our community.”

Brian Doyle OAM delivered the guest address while 17 new Australians were welcomed in the Citizenship Ceremony.

“Australia Day is a great occasion to come together to celebrate life, the country and town that we call home… and each other,” Cr Moore said.

“It’s a very significant occasion for the 17 people who have come from all over the world – India, Thailand, Philippines, Wales, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Taiwan and New Zealand – who chose to become Australians in Singleton.”

2024 award winners

Citizen of the Year – Diana Thorning

Diana Thorning has shared her kind-heartedness and talents to many individuals and organisations in the Singleton community for many decades.

She’s been a foster carer to 15 children and provided emergency respite to countless others in need since 1997.

As well, she has been a member of the Uniting Elizabeth Gates Village auxiliary for more than 30 years, provided care services to residents since 2001 and taken on the secretary’s role since 2011.

Diana has also been the secretary of the Singleton Branch of the Australian Red Cross since 2003 and the vice-president of Singleton Tidy Towns since 2009.

Every week, she attends the Uniting Elizabeth Gates Village where she volunteers with the hand care program, massaging residents’ hands and painting their nails. 

In addition to being the village’s auxiliary secretary, Diana actively participates in fundraising to improve the comfort of the residents.

At the auxiliary’s fete in 2023, she made 200 jars of jam and pickles – and of which all sold and raised vital funds for the village.

Also in 2023, Diana instigated a glass jar recycling program where collection points around town allow people to donate jars that she then sterilises before filing with her beloved recipes.

She coordinates the Red Cross Trauma Teddy program in Singleton, too.

Diana helps to stitch together, stuff and embroider bears before delivering them to emergency services, the hospital and doctors’ surgeries to give to young patients.

She was heavily involved when Singleton Tidy Towns hosted the NSW Tidy Towns Awards in March 2023, which brought about 200 visitors to town.

Young Achiever of the Year – Joss Davies

Joss Davies is a role model for young people living with disabilities, like herself, in the Singleton community.

In 2017 she joined Singleton PCYC’s Friday Afternoon Fun Disability Sport and Support Program.

At the time, she was a shy teenager with low self-esteem.

Fast forward to now, Joss has grown into a confident young woman with a passion for helping others.

In 2020, she began volunteering at Singleton PCYC and attends every day during school holiday activities.

She is punctual, hardworking, professional and displays a maturity beyond her years when working with youths.

Joss is also at the forefront of the PCYC fundraising activities including selling raffle tickets and making sausage sandwiches at Bunnings BBQs.

The same year she completed her Higher School Certificate in 2022, she was named a finalist in the One to Watch category of the NSW Young Women of the Year Awards.

Joss is a member of the Singleton Disability Advisory Committee and was a participant of Singleton Council’s Our Inclusion video campaign, sharing her story about living with disabilities and thriving in the Singleton community.

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