Natural Death Care Centre founder and V-Day event co-organiser, Zenith Virago, is the 2021 Byron Shire Citizen of the Year.
A ceremony to celebrate her work, along with others recognised for their community service, was held at the Cavanbah Centre on Monday night.
Mayor Simon Richardson said, ‘Zenith is a pioneer and leader in her approach to dying; to helping people prepare for death and guiding them, and their families, through the end of life process which is frightening, uncertain and sad’.
Other locals recognised for their community work include longtime State Emergency Service (SES) member Peter Mair, who is Volunteer of the Year. Peter, who retired from the police force in 2017, is the SES Tweed-Byron Zone Local Commander.
Arakwal woman, Nickolla Clarke, is the Byron Shire’s Creative Artist of the Year. Cr Richardson said, ‘She was the lead artist on the Byron Bay Railway Park art project and was key contributor to the Mullumbimby Gateway project’.
Byron Shire’s Young Citizen of the Year is Mia Thom, who was recognised for her leadership on human rights issues and climate change, within her school and community.
Former Mullum High school teacher, Pamela Wark, is Senior Citizen of the Year. Pamela worked at Mullum High for more than 45 years, and is highly regarded as an inspirational, dedicated and caring educator. The founder of the Surfrider Foundation in Australia, Brad Farmer OAM, is the 2021 Byron Shire Australia Day Ambassador.
While Byron Bay’s Survival Day and other events were postponed, a barbecue was held at the Ocean Shores Baptist Hub Church.