Outstanding Community Members take out top honours in Wingecarribee’s 2024 Citizens Awards
Congratulations to Uta and Dennis Purcell – Wingecarribee Shire Council’s 2024 Citizen/s of the Year and Mackenzie Isedale – 2024 Young Citizen of the Year
Our shire is so proud to have some outstanding citizens and were delighted with the quality of nominations for our 2024 Citizen and Young Citizen of the Years Awards, with the winners just being announced at Berrima Village as part of our Australia Day ceremonies and celebrations.
As a dynamic duo, Uta and Dennis Purcell from Burradoo have together taken out Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Citizen of the Year 2024 title, after being jointly nominated for the Awards, for their exceptional work in local education, charities and the arts.
The 2024 Young Citizen of the Year has been awarded to Mackenzie Isedale from Welby, for her fund raising and charity contributions since her battle with cancer.
Congratulations to all the nominees, and especially the winners!
Uta and Dennis
Key areas for being nominated:
- Long term commitment as local educators, at Kangaloon, Mittagong, Moss Vale and Glenquarry Public Schools until their retirement in 2008.
- Long term commitment to the Arts, voluntary work with Meals on Wheels, The Southern Highlands Concert Band, and as Justices of the Peace.
- Dennis’ contribution to Cricket Umpiring and as an umpire for the NSW Blind Cricket Association.
Dennis and Uta showed a fondness for musical performance in schools, which led to pupils being able to play an instrument, join school bands and perform in musicals. The Purcells have been long term members of The Southern Highlands Concert Band for 30 years.
They volunteer to play for the community during Tulip Time, at Anzac Memorial Services and in local Nursing Homes at Christmas. Dennis is their Honorary Treasurer and Uta supervises front of house operations.
As a photographer, Dennis has an amazing collection of photographs of the Glenquarry, Kangaloon and East Kangaloon areas from 7974 through to 1992. This includes the formation of the Tourist Road Oval and its subsequent development.
Uta enjoys attending art lessons and has produced a large portfolio of work for the Bowral and District Art Society. Dennis assists in the framing and displaying of art for local exhibitions. Uta has also joined The Southern Highlands Fellowship of Australian Writers, of which she is Secretary, and has just published her second novella.
Dennis is a great problem solver with a scientific mind. He has a passion for computers and has spent endless hours setting up electrical systems and computer networks at Moss Vale Public School. He volunteered his time to coach pupils and teachers.
Dennis and Uta have performed many valuable community services. They ran the polling booth at Kangaloon for Local, State and Federal elections. They also volunteered to distribute and explain and collect Census Forms.
Their voluntary and charity work has increased since retirement. They are now both offering their services as practising Justices of the Peace on a regular basis in
Bowral as well as still working with Meals on Wheels delivery.
Despite ongoing health worries Dennis, encouraged by Uta, never misses opportunities to assist others.
Key areas for being nominated:
- Mackenzie is Vice Captain at Bowral High School for 2024, and has contributed to the community through fund raising and charitable initiatives since her childhood battle with cancer.
In May 2017 she was involved in the CCIA Build for a Cure. This involved McDonald Jones building a house in Appin in 4 weeks and then auctioning off the house. CCIA raised $700,000 at this event. Mackenzie has also spoken about her personal journey to help raise funds for Camp Quality at their Annual Giggle Ball, held in Canberra in November 2017.
In 2018, Mackenzie was involved in selling ‘Billy G Cookie Dough’ to raise money for Camp Quality and at one stage she was the ‘Top Seller’ out of ALL the fundraisers, and out and about selling cookie dough for all other charities. Mackenzie was also involved in Endure for a Cure with CCIA in 2018 where they raised $357,000.
Some other events in which she has taken part include fundraising for the ‘Locks for Laughs’ initiative for Camp Quality – raising $6847; Completing a ‘Flying Trapeze dare’ to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Institute’s CEO Dare to Cure fundraising day to raise money for medical research – contributing to the $1.5 million raised.
Since joining Bowral High School in 2019, Mackenzie has served as a member of the Student Representative Council. Through working with this group, she has organised for school and community members to get involved in the 86K for a Cure event for several years in a row.
Mackenzie continues to work with the Children’s Cancer Institute to help raise money for medical research so no other child has to endure the harsh chemotherapy treatment like she had to.