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Dr Helen Tolhurst Announced As Maitland's 2020 Citizen Of The Year

Former GP and Parkinson's Disease advocate, Dr Helen Tolhurst has been announced as Maitland's 2020 Citizen of the Year.


Helen is a former GP of 18 years and keen artist who, after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in January 2019, decided to do something to improve our community's capacity to support and understand the challenges that people with Parkinson's face.

Through determination and leadership, Helen helped establish networks and support groups within our community for those living with Parkinson's Disease and their families.

Helen also uses her passion for art to raise awareness about Parkinson's in her most recent art exhibition, where all proceeds also went to the Maitland Parkinson's Support Group.

Maitland Mayor Cr Loretta Baker says, 'the Maitland Citizen of the Year is an award which recognises and celebrates an individual who has shown good citizenship, determination, enthusiasm and commitment through their service to our community. Helen has demonstrated each of these characteristics helping build networks and support groups for people in our community who live with Parkinson's Disease.

'Helen would have helped countless people in our community in her time as a GP, and through her inspiring energy, has now built a support group that has assisted many local people who are living with Parkinson's'. The Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to Ally Meyn, who is passionate about improving the lives of those less fortunate or disadvantaged within the community.

In 2020 alone, Ally contributed to successfully supporting over 300 disadvantaged, disabled, or vulnerable members of our community find meaningful employment while also building awareness within the business community about the value of employing those with special needs. Ally also mentors local youth to help them achieve their employment dreams and is the President of the local Business Network International Group.

'We are so lucky to have people like Ally in Maitland who are selflessly dedicated to helping those less fortunate in our community,' added Cr Baker.

Along with the two award recipients, 28 people became Australian citizens as part of Maitland's Official Australia Day Ceremony.

Watch the recording of Maitland's Official Australia Day Ceremony here or via Council's Facebook.