Unsung heroes recognised for their contributions to the Inner West

Friday 10 July 2020

An advocate on behalf of women experiencing Domestic and Family Violence, an animal welfare activist, a public health academic, a retired early childhood educator and a public education campaigner have all been recognised in the 2020 Inner West Council Citizen of the Year Awards.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne congratulated all those who were honoured with awards.

“Once again the Citizen of the Year Awards have highlighted the amazing contributions made every day across the Inner West,” said Mayor Byrne.

“These unsung heroes quietly go about their days helping people. This recognition goes just a little way towards thanking them for what they have done for not only the Inner West, but the broader community.

“I also extend my congratulations and thanks to all those who were nominated for the respective awards this year,” said Mayor Byrne.

2020 Citizen of the Year Winner – Roxanne McMurray (pictured)

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said Roxanne McMurray was awarded Citizen of the Year in acknowledgment of her dedication to the prevention of domestic and family violence.

“I’ve seen firsthand the heroic contribution that Roxanne has made to protecting women and children from violence over many decades. There are many thousands of local people whose lives have been saved and changed for the better because of her work,” said Mayor Byrne.

“Roxanne’s leadership in saving long-standing women’s refuges from closure by the NSW Government was both effective and inspiring. While Roxanne’s commitment to social justice is not dependent on recognition, this award will help shine a light on the ongoing need to train children and young people to have safe and respectful relationships – a principle she has dedicated her life to,” he said.

Ms McMurray has worked for the past 25 years at Leichhardt Women’s Community Health Centre, being manager for the past 18 years. She was one of the founders of the SOS Women’s Services campaign in 2014. It successfully lobbied for all refuges to have their funding extended until 2020.They secured an additional $20 million of funding to assist with the expansion of 24 hour services across NSW and the retention of a specialist domestic violence caseworker at the Family Court. Ms McMurray is also an active member of the Inner West Domestic Violence Liaison Committee, and has been an active member of the Board of Detour House and the Girls Refuge. .

2020 Citizen of the Year Honourable Mention - Eleftheria Prodromou

An Honourable Mention for Citizen of the Year went to Eleftheria Prodromou for her contribution to the community through the promotion of the rights, welfare, wellbeing and advancement of companion animals.

Ms Prodromou, an Australian of Greek descent, is the founder of an Australian registered animal charity named “Penny Marathon”. This charity has been actively working in Australia since 2012 and has since expanded its fundraising and awareness activities internationally. Her commitment and tireless work have benefited hundreds of stray cats and dogs who have been spayed, medically treated, fed and/or rehomed.

“Penny Marathon” also financially assists local animal charities that may be struggling due to an excessive number of pets in need of help. Ms Prodromou is also a strong advocate for recycling and repurposing goods, and for healthy living.

2020 Senior Citizen of the Year – Simon Chapman (joint winner)

Senior Citizen of the Year honours have been shared by Professor Simon Chapman and Peggy Lane.

Professor Chapman is recognised across the globe for his role in promoting tobacco control in the public, policy and academic arenas. As professor in Public Health at the University of Sydney, his work focused on cutting smoking rates by examining media discourses on health and illness, and risk communication.

He was also identified for establishing the St. Anmore Festival of Music, held in memory Richard Gill AO, a renowned Sydney musical identity. Professor Chapman was also a key member of the Coalition for Gun Control, which won the 1996 Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's Community Human Rights award for its advocacy for gun law reform after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.

2020 Senior Citizen of the Year – Peggy Lane (joint winner)

Senior Citizen of the Year was also awarded to Peggy Lane. Ms Lane, aged 81, retired at the end of 2019 after working as an early childhood educator for 45 years at SDN Marrickville. During this time she imparted her humour and wisdom to hundreds of families and taught and cared for thousands of members of our community.

Colleagues of hers noted that over all those years, Ms Lane never tired of children, commenting that she doesn't mind the tantrums, the nappies or the squabbles. At the time of her retirement, Ms Lane also indicated she still planned on continuing to give back to the community by volunteering to care for children at hospital or through the library.

2020 Young Citizen of the Year Winner – Daniel Lahood

Daniel Lahood was named the Young Citizen of the Year in appreciation of his campaigning for both public education and social justice and inclusion. Mr Lahood, a previous winner of the Amy Large Volunteering Award, has been a tireless supporter for NGO services such as Legacy NSW, the Cancer Council Australia and Neighbour Aid Shopping, as well as supporting the programs of his local church and high school.

For media enquiries, contact Bill Hawker, Mayoral Media Officer, 9392 5685 or bill.hawker@innerwest.nsw.gov.au


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Page last updated: 15 Jul 2020