I would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners from last Saturday's Lake Mac Awards. It was a terrific night where we got the chance to celebrate some amazing people who do incredible things for our community. We had such a diverse and exceptional group of nominees that included people and community groups that have done amazing work to the benefit of others without seeking reward or recognition.
There were many fantastic winners on the night, and our penultimate award, the Lake Mac Ambassador Award was presented to Rhonda Finlay from Rathmines. This award recognises someone that has gone above and beyond for our community and leads by example by demonstrating what it means to live in Lake Mac. Rhonda definitely embodies this and is a worthy recipient.
A tireless volunteer, Rhonda has been involved in a host of groups, activities and initiatives designed to make the community a better place and help those in it. Rhonda has been particularly active in the field of Aboriginal welfare and education, and has been involved for more than 15 years in Wangi Lions Club.
The other major award that was presented on the night was the Sports Star. This year it was presented to Matt Hall who is an icon of our city. A former RAAF fighter pilot, Matt won his maiden Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2019. He is the only Australian to have competed in the championship, participating in eight seasons of racing and amassing 30 podium finishes. Matt's team - Matt Hall Racing - is based in Lake Macquarie, helping raise the profile of the City and the sport for thousands of fans worldwide.
In total we had 14 winners on the night across all the award categories, including young people, artists, environmental and community groups, and volunteers. I really enjoyed the opportunity to recognise all these wonderful people. It was a fantastic way to start the year off and it makes me feel so positive about the year ahead.
On behalf of our whole community, congratulations to all of our local award nominees and winners. Thank you for your continued dedication to help and support others, as well as your drive to achieve amazing things. Your passion and commitment to our City makes Lake Macquarie an even better place to live.