Mayor's Message - 19 January
This week, I would like to congratulate the winners, as well as all the nominees, of our 2021 Bass Coast Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year Awards.
In a ceremony held last Wednesday in Wonthaggi, Mat Bowtell from Cowes was named Citizen of the Year and Wonthaggi’s Margaret Sand was named as our Young Citizen of the Year.
Mat is possibly best known for establishing Free 3D Hands in 2014, a company that provides prosthetic limbs free of charge to children in need, all over the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold early in 2020, Mat re-purposed 14 of his 3D printers to manufacture face shields to ensure local health care workers had access to suitable personal protective equipment. By using his own savings, community fundraising and government funding, Mat was able to employ locals who had lost their jobs and produce 6,000 face shields.
Margaret completed Year 12 at Wonthaggi Secondary College in 2020 and was recognised for her extensive volunteer work. In 2019, using a decent chunk of her own savings, Margaret initiated a program with Wonthaggi Christian Life Centre and Wonthaggi Anglican Church to create care packages for people in need. She is incredibly community minded, as has big things ahead of her in the future.
There are so many people out there in our community doing incredibly important work that they often don’t get recognised for. That’s why these Awards are so important, as each year, they give us the opportunity to give back to just a few of Bass Coast’s incredible citizens, who pour their lives into making the world a better place for others.
It’s important to recognise not only our winners, but all of our nominees as well – it is such an achievement in itself to receive a nomination.
I would also like to take a moment to recognise local artist Katherine Muir, who provided two incredible artworks for our winners this year. Katherine grew up in the Wonthaggi area, and her love for the pure and rugged southern coast drives her artistic flare. Bass Coast’s land and ocean have been the ‘soundtrack’ to her life and her connection with nature has always been extremely strong, which is something you can see translated in her art.
I am always in awe of the incredible talent we have, right here in Bass Coast.