A YOUNG Sandford mother who established a charity to raise funds and awareness of millions of women and children trapped in sexual slavery has been awarded the title of 2017 City of Clarence Citizen of the Year.
Melody Towns founded ‘Be Hers’ in 2010 and, with the support of a team of volunteers, has organised numerous ‘Be Her Freedom’ events to raise funds and awareness of human trafficking.
Held in locations such as Sydney, the Sunshine Coast, Illawarra and Launceston, the events empower women to make a difference in the lives of other women forced into sexual slavery.
All funds raised during the events go to the A21 Campaign, a not-for-profit organisation that fights human trafficking.
Clarence Mayor Doug Chipman, who announced the award during the 2017 City of Clarence Australia Day program on 26 January, said Ms Towns had made a significant difference to the lives of many.
“With passion, determination and genuine care for others, Melody has created something incredibly powerful,” he said.
“Melody has shown that while human trafficking may not be prevalent in Australia, it is a significant global issue and one that we should learn more about and try to do what we can to help.
“With around 500 volunteers and Be Her Freedom events growing around the country, Melody has given a voice to the voiceless and shown that one person can make a difference.”
Other recipients of the 2017 City of Clarence Australia Day Awards are listed below.
Senior Citizen of the Year – Jenny Nurse, of Howrah
For more than 20-years, Jenny Nurse has been instrumental in the City of Clarence Eisteddfod, a key event in the city run entirely by volunteers.
Mrs Nurse began as a committee member and in her second year, became the schools’ coordinator, organising large school classes such as choirs, choral groups, bands and instrumental ensembles.
Mrs Nurse has been vice president and served for five-years as president and currently organises sponsorships and advertising.
Her love for music and efforts to encourage young people to achieve their best is evident through her past work as a music teacher and her lifelong involvement in Tasmanian eisteddfods.
Young Citizen of the Year – Amelia Clark, of Risdon Vale
An active member of the Risdon Vale community, 15-year-old Amelia Clark has been involved in a number of projects as a community member of the Risdon Vale Neighbourhood Centre.
Amelia is part of a core group that established the “Homework Centre” to improve young people’s literacy and regularly provides one-to-one reading with participants.
She also volunteers her time to prepare meals for the Clarence Frozen Meals program and helps out at many community events.
Community Event of the Year – Dronefest
Dronefest is the first event of its kind to be held in Australia and highlights the rapid rise and innovation of drones as a hobby and in industries such as commerce, research, agriculture and defence.
Held at Lauderdale in October 2016, Dronefest is an initiative of the Rotary Club of Bellerive and was organised with the assistance of the Rotary Club of Howrah.
The festival provides an opportunity to showcase how drone technology is used through aerial demonstrations, displays and short talks, as well as its potential use in the future.
Dronefest was attended by 1,700 people and raised approximately $1,700 for two local projects.
The 2017 City of Clarence Australia Day Awards were presented by Mayor Chipman and Australia Day Ambassador and business mentor, Adam Mostogl, at the Bellerive Boardwalk.
Caption: Clarence Mayor Doug Chipman with organisers of Dronefest, which was announced 2017 Community Event of the Year at the city’s recent Australia Day awards.