Dr Ray Hodgson our Citizen of the Year

The announcement of the Australia Day Award winners shows the depth of

compassion and dedication in the Hastings community with a Doctor who established

an aid organisation, a Paralympian and a business mentor being recognised at a

special ceremony on the eve of our national day.

Dr Ray Hodgson has been named Citizen of the Year in recognition of his work in

establishing a not-for-profit aid organisation called Prolapse Down Under, assisting

women in South east Asia with pregnancy complications.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Mayor, Peter Besseling presented the Awards

alongside Australia Day Ambassador Karen Banton, at a public ceremony on Town


“The Australia Day Awards highlight the true heroes of our community. The

inspirational achievements of Dr Hodgson to not only create the charity but to

maximise the potential benefits through further study in international medicine shows

his extraordinary commitment to this cause,” said Councillor Besseling.

Three time wheelchair rugby Paralympian Ryley Batt was named Young Citizen of the Year, recognising not only his representative achievements but the message he lives by that a disability shouldn’t limit your possibilities.

Business mentor and Rotarian Helen Ross was named Senior Citizen of the Year

while the Community Group of the Year was jointly awarded to Port Macquarie

Historical Society and Museum and the Camden Haven Meals on Wheels.

“Everyone of these Award winners and all of those nominated, embody the

characteristics of what it means to be an Australian and remind us of what can be

achieved from a local community level.

“I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of our Australia Day subcommittee in managing the awards process and coordinating the fantastic celebrations throughout the Hastings

on Australia Day,” said Councillor Besseling.


Doctor Ray Hodgson - For years Dr Hodgson has been visiting third world countries as a gynaecologist helping the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the world.

He has now taken this passion further and created an aid organisation called Prolapse Down Under, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to reduce maternal morbidity and involved volunteer doctors and nurses travelling regularly to developing countries within South East Asia to provide treatment and education for women suffering with pregnancy complications.

To assist his clinical skills with broader government influence Dr Hodgson has gone back to university in his 50’s to study international medicine.

The training, which has required further travel to Nepal for exams, will better enable him to deal with the political and financial issues that may arise as his aid organisation develops.


Ryley Batt - As a three time wheel chair rugby Paralympian Ryley Batt has proudly

represented Australia and Port Macquarie.

He won Silver at the Beijing Games and most recently Gold at the London 2012 games.

With skill, determination and a commitment to his goals Ryley has developed an international reputation one of the best and most experienced players in the Australian wheelchair rugby team and is ranked number 3 in the world.

At every opportunity Ryley promotes his home town with passion and is always supportive of community events, volunteering his time when available to speak at various charity events, schools and business functions.

His message, even at a young age is simple, that a disability shouldn’t limit your possibilities and that if you put your mind to it you can achieve your dreams.


Helen Ross - As an inspiring and tenacious business women Helen Ross has freely given of her time through the Business Women’s Network for the benefit of business women in our area in a mentoring role.

Many hundreds of employees through the McDonalds stores have Helen to thank for her business foresight and their employment. With a fundraising achievement of $3 million for Ronald McDonald House Helen’s association has benefited many local families.

As community director of Rotary Helen has also contributed of her time, energy and


Camden Haven Meals on Wheels - In an era when funding for aged care services has

switched from State to Federal Government the Camden Haven Meals on Wheels has met these challenges without sacrificing its integrity, its ethos or its client-centred reason for existing.

The group has undertaken many upgrades and changes to their service in the changeover from hot meals delivered at lunchtime to frozen meals delivered early in the morning.

In addition to the meal delivery the group has initiated several additional services such as client shopping, meals out with clients, group activities, nutritional guidance and advice.

All of these services are designed to extend the experience of consuming high quality, well prepared, affordable meals.

All clients are treated as individuals, with their specific needs, desires and personalities catered for with care and compassion.

Port Macquarie Historical Society and Museum - As a volunteer run history and heritage organisation established in 1956 the Port Macquarie Historical Society and Museum serves as a community keeping place and history resource for the local and wider community, as a tourist attraction and as an education centre for visiting students and schools.

The Port Macquarie Historical Society and Museum is a not for profit incorporated association, managed by an annually elected committee with membership open to all members of the community.

Membership of the society stands at 128 and at any one time has around 60 volunteers who give generously of their skills and time to operate all aspects of the


Over the past 56 years the society has acquired a collection of objects, images and

documents acknowledged as highly significant to our national, state and local history and one of the most significant in regional NSW and regional Australia.

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