It is an honour to be recognised as Gunnedah’s young citizen of the year for 2024.

I would like to thank the Australia Day Committee for organising the event and to the person/people who nominated me. I would also like to thank my grandmother Gwen Coddington who accepted the award on my behalf.

It was both a privilege and very rewarding to serve as school captain for St Mary’s College in 2023, to represent the Rotary and Lions Clubs of Gunnedah for public speaking and to help Gunnedah children as a coach for Louis Tennis Academy.

Unfortunately, I could not attend the ceremony as I was on a planned family holiday to France and Belgium. Here, I was able to visit the grave of my great-great-uncle who fought in WWI and who is buried near Messines. I was fortunate enough to travel through Central and Northern France and visit places such as the Normandy Beaches, Mont Saint Michel, Dunkirk, Villers-Bretonneux and Ypres in Belgium.

In the coming weeks I will begin my studies in a Bachelor of Communication at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst and will certainly look forward to returning to Gunnedah during the breaks.

Lewis Donaldson, Gunnedah

To order photos from this page click here