AUSTRALIA DAY 2015: Phil Priest named Citizen of the Year

Phil Priest and his wife Annette with his Dubbo Citizen of the Year award. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE.AUSTRALIA Day will forever be a little more special for Dubbo resident, Phil Priest, after receiving the 2015 Dubbo Citizen of the Year award.
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Phil received the award his strong devotion to the community.

Emcee Susan Wade said Mr Priest is ‘very well respected in the community, and goes about his community work without fuss or fanfare’.

“Whether it be assisting elderly neighbours with their welfare and gardens, or volunteering many hours at the local animal shelter, Phil always has the welfare of others foremost in his mind,” Ms Wade said.

“Phil epitomises the spirit of Dubbo; progressive, inclusive, caring, involved, recognising gaps and being prepared to fill them, giving without expectation of reward and welcoming to all.”

Mr Priest said dedicated the award to his late father, who received the same award for the town of Gunnedah about 30 years ago.

“My father had a huge sense of community and I think he’s passed that onto me,” he said.

“I’m humbled, but very honoured to receive this award.”

The former Dubbo College- Delroy, South and Senior Campus careers counselor was an integral part of the Dubbo Macquarie River Bushcare group.

He is the team leader for Challenge Community Services, a group that provides a safe, enjoyable and fun way to learn about the river by carrying out tasks such as weed control, tree planting, rubbish collecting and holding fishing clinics.

Mr Priest also participates in tandem bike riding to allow visually impaired people to experience the joy of riding around the Tracker Riley circuit.

As a long term member of the Sister City Advisory Committee Mr Priest helps to interview potential exchange students, acts as a chaperon for a student group who travelled to Miokamo, Japan.

The newly-appointed Citizen of the Year also acted as a tour guide around Dubbo for Japanese visitors and hosted Japanese visitors in his home for their stay in Dubbo.

Mr Priest said his biggest achievement has been the continuous improvement of the Macquarie River, via the Dubbo Macquarie River Bushcare group.

He said he was “very surprised, but honoured” by the award and said he loves to be involved with the community because he “selfishly” loves to help people.

“I do a lot of little things and people recognise that,” Mr Priest said.

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