Lake Mac Awards

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Congratulations to our 2024 winners

Congratulations to our 2024 Lake Mac Award winners. Each year, the Lake Mac Awards celebrate the quiet achievers and unsung heroes who embody the spirit of Lake Mac, inspiring positive change across the city through their everyday actions.

Our winners were announced at a formal gala event on 22 March 2024 at Belmont 16s. You can learn more about each of our winners below.  

2024 Lake Mac Awards winners

Lake Mac Ambassador

Winner: Matt HallMatt Hall Jan 2020 (2) (Custom).jpg

Matt is a third generation pilot whose life in aviation has involved intense military combat, multiple near-death experiences and immortalisation in the fastest motorsport on the planet.

As wingman for his dad from an early age, Matt achieved his first solo flight at age 15 in a glider, before gaining his aircraft pilot’s licence at the age of 18.

Matt is a former top gun fighter pilot and retired as a Wing Commander in the Royal Australian Air Force. He is a combat veteran of Iraq with USAF and RAAF medals for heroism under fire supporting troops on the ground.

Post military, Matt continued to soar in the world of air race – he is the reigning Red Bull Air Race World Champion and the most successful race pilot in the modern era, accumulating seven wins and 25 podiums.

Matt Hall Racing is the long-term primary charitable partner to Wings4Kidz which provides air transport for children in regional communities for medical appointments. The business also supports numerous charitable causes, veterans causes, schools, grass-roots aviation and fundraising events every year, as well as providing flights and exhibitions out of Lake Mac.

Lake Mac Young Citizen of the Year

Winner: Sophie Berude

Leukemia survivor Sophie Berude continues her philanthropic journey after being named 2023 Lake Mac Young Citizen.

She celebrated her 'cured-day' by launching a "Joy Campaign" for John Hunter Children's Hospital, contributing over $2,000 in gifts, adding to her cumulative $40,000 donations.

As a key participant in Redkite's national fundraising, Sophie spearheaded their Christmas and 'Crunch for Kids' campaigns, featured in various promotional materials, and raised personal funds.

Acknowledging her seven-year commitment to the cause, Redkite's CEO nominated her for the NSW Women of the Year awards where she was recognised as ‘one to watch’.

Highly commended: Emma Walsh

Emma is a 13 year-old who is working to improve the lives of seriously ill children and their families, all while undergoing treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia herself.

She creates ‘Care Kit Backpacks’ to help make hospital stays more comfortable for teens and has launched her own foundation ‘Emma’s Warriors’ which raised $70,000 in its first six months.

The foundation provides financial support and gifts to those in hospitals and supports other organisations including Ronald McDonald House.


Lake Mac Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Anna Noon

Anna Noon is forever exploring practical ways to provide inspiration, education and hope to our community in the face of a changing climate.

She's a member of the Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance, a former sitting Alliance board member, and is director of the not-for-profit, Groundswell Collective.

She delivers presentations, tours and talks on nature-based solutions to climate change to business teams, service groups, special interest groups and schools, as well as a range of programs with tangible benefits on our local environment.

From engaging the community to establish tiny forests, to coming up with recycling solutions for face masks in the wake of the pandemic, Anna’s ingenuity and innovative approach to sustainability is truly a breath of fresh air.

Highly Commended: Vina Chubb and Pam Wellham

Vina Chubb

From working with Indigenous communities to high-school programs, honorary Rotarian and active member Vina Chubb has a passion for mentoring youth.

Working with Glendale High School and Planet Youth, Vina runs multiple programs to engage young people in hands on and sustainable activities that benefit the individual and the environment.

Whether it be protecting threatened bird habitats off her own bat or working with Warners Bay Sustainable Neighbourhood Group and Survivors R Us, Vina’s environmental efforts are matched only by her infectious positivity and relentless pursuit of a better community for all.

Pam Wellham

Pam Wellham is a dedicated Rotarian of 23 years, leading a range of initiatives and fundraisers to improve Lake Macquarie.

She supports people experiencing homelessness through the Orange Sky service program, provides community meals at Belmont Baptist Community Care, sits on the PCYC Fundraising Committee and raises money for countless charities.

Her individual fundraising efforts for the Fred Hollows Foundation have helped restore the eyesight of one hundred and eighty-two (182) people since 2020.

Pam’s charitable and community minded efforts are far too numerous to list, but her legacy and impact will be felt in the Lake Mac community for generations to come.

Lake Mac Senior of the Year

Winner: Pam Wellham

Pam Wellham is a dedicated Rotarian of 23 years, leading a range of initiatives and fundraisers to improve Lake Macquarie.

She supports people experiencing homelessness through the Orange Sky service program, provides community meals at Belmont Baptist Community Care, sits on the PCYC Fundraising Committee and raises money for countless charities.

Her individual fundraising efforts for the Fred Hollows Foundation have helped restore the eyesight of one hundred and eighty-two (182) people since 2020.

Pam’s charitable and community minded efforts are far too numerous to list, but her legacy and impact will be felt in the Lake Mac community for generations to come.

Highly commended: Dawn Lambert, Annette McEwan and Lorraine McKenzie

Dawn Lambert

Dawn Lambert has been a member of Lions for more than 40 years helping the Lake Mac community.

She has been instrumental in raising awareness around diabetes and prevention, events promoting fitness and has worked with organisations like Survivors R Us to help those experiencing homelessness or domestic violence.

Annette McEwan

Annette McEwan is the conductor for Sing Australia Belmont Choir, pipe major of the Clan McEwan Pipe band and sits on the committee of Eastlakes U3A where she leads an exercise class.

Annette puts on regular events at aged care and community centres, and has raised countless funds for charities, including $50,000 for Buy a Bale and $25,000 to support drought affected farmers.

Lorraine McKenzie

Lorraine McKenzie has been an executive member of Eastlakes U3A for many years, securing grants and funding to improve the Belmont Senior Citizens Centre.

She leads a digital literacy course to assist members connect with modern tools, has been the co-leader of Sing Australia for 20 years and is drum major for Clan McEwan.

Lake Mac Community Group of the Year

Winner: Hunter Mountain Bike Association

Hunter Mountain Bike Association develops and maintains a network of mountain bike trails across Lake Macquarie that can be freely accessed by the general public to support their physical and mental health and well-being. 

In the past 10 years HMBA has more than doubled the trail network through volunteer labour, including construction of one of the original and only adaptive mountain bike trail networks in Australia.

The trails accommodate riders of all levels, from complete newcomers to international competitors and riders with disability.

The group coordinates a number of events and promotes eco-tourism to the beautiful Watagan Mountains and Olney State Forest – including a successful running of the 2024 National Championships in March.

Highly Commended: Repair it Lake Mac 

Repair It Lake Mac delivers regular, free community repair cafe events. Since January 2022, more than 1000 people have attended 16 events held at various locations around the Lake.

Over 1,500 items have been brought in for repair or advice, ranging from clothing, electrical items, small furniture, tools, household items, dolls, jewellery, laptops, mobile phones and bikes. This equates to 1.5 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill. 

With a friendly chat and morning tea always on hand, the cafes serve as an agent for change, educating people about re-use and repair options rather than sending unwanted items to landfill.

Lake Mac Community Event of the Year

Winner: Morisset Lake Macquarie Show

The Morisset Lake Macquarie Show is a traditional country show dating back to 1954 which bridges the gap between city and rural Australia.

Organised and run by local volunteers, the show is a weekend extravaganza of entertainment and education focused on farming, food, local arts and horticulture.

The committee keeps entry costs down to keep the show affordable for all and has tripled attendance since 2017, with a record breaking 15,500 people on hand for this year’s event.

Highly Commended: Tiny Forest Community Planting Days (The Groundswell Collective)

In a Hunter first, four Lake Macquarie Tiny Forest Planting Day events were held in 2023, bringing locals together to mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide habitat for local biodiversity, and strengthen community connections.

The events boosted participants’ mental health and wellbeing and offered a sense of control and hopefulness surrounding the overwhelming and scary issue of climate change.

Lake Mac Sports Leader

Winner: Nathan Swadling

Nathan Swadling trains and inspires everyone who walks into his gym, from title contenders to office workers seeking fun and fitness.

Swadling’s stable includes state title holders, national contenders, juniors gaining confidence and fitness, and a corporate program that takes people from clocking in to knocking out in no time.

Nathan also created a boxing plan for people with physical and mental disability with an inclusive program dating back to 2016 and welcomes all into his gym to improve their boxing and life skills.

Lake Mac Sports Star

Winner: Jennifer Enderby

A perennial powerhouse at the Lake Mac Awards, Jenny Enderby’s athletics and orienteering prowess and longevity is truly remarkable.

Last year Jenny claimed three gold medals at the Oceania Orienteering Championships in Tasmania, taking out sprint, middle and long distance events, and no fewer than seven medals at the Australian Championships.

Jenny was third overall in the Orienteering Australia Silva Medal – awarded to the best performing orienteer for their age in national events.

A multi-sport athlete with national titles in Orienteering, triathlon, duathlon, mountain biking and mountain bike orienteering, Jenny has represented Australia for more than 35 years at the top level.

A coach as well as competitor, Jenny has helped both her daughters Erika and Mikayla achieve national and international success.

Highly Commended: Shaun Swadling and Christine Tylee

Shaun Swadling

Shaun Swadling is the NSW and Australian trampolining team captain and is the only male athlete in the sport to have made two world championship finals.

With back-to-back NSW championships under his belt, Shaun is currently competing at the world champs for a place in the Australian Olympics team for Paris 2024.

Christine Tylee

Christine Tylee has shown remarkable resilience in her sporting and life journey.

After suffering a series of strokes five years ago that left her in intensive care, Christine made a promise to herself to stay positive and one day achieve a black belt in karate.

After teaching herself to walk and talk again, she achieved both goals and more, becoming a world champion in kata and finishing runner up in traditional weapons at the International Sports Karate Association World Cup.

Lake Mac Young Sports Star

Winner: Sienna Eve and Saffron Shiels

Sienna Eve

Sienna Eve is a classy cricketer plying her left arm orthodox spin and handy middle order batting for the Cricket Australia under 19 squad, NSW country and the Flames in NSW Premier Cricket.

One of the top female players in the state, Sienna was recently awarded the Basil Sellers Scholarship to develop her skills further toward a NSW contracted position.

Named ‘Captain of the Year’ in Premier Cricket, Sienna is a leader on and off the pitch, taking on coaching roles at the Newcastle and NSW cricket academies and mentoring at community events like ‘Girls Day Out’ to encourage the next generation of young women to take up a bat or ball.

Saffron Shiels

Saffron Shiels is a polished point guard shining bright for the Australian Sapphires and Gems in FIBA World Cups and Asian Championships, leading to selection for the Opals for a five-match tour of China last year.

The Townsville Fire contracted WNBL player captained Australia to victory at the Under 17 Oceania Championships in Papua New Guinea, leading the team’s scoring to be selected in the tournament’s all-star five.

The Newcastle and NSW star also helped Australia go undefeated at the Under 18 FIBA Asian Championships in India and has a great shot to line up for the Opals for many years to come.

Always keen to give back, Saffron works as a development coach at all levels whenever available, and coaches for the Townsville junior academy program.

Highly Commended: Zachary Tait 

At just nine years of age Zachary Tait is riding a wave of success in the sailing world, winning a raft of state, national and international standard events.

At the age of eight Zach teamed up with his father Hugh to become the youngest ever winner of the International One Design Tasar class regatta in a field full of former world champions.

Zach has racked up major wins at a rate of knots, including the International Optimist Class Australian National Championships last January against sailors four years his senior.

Arguably the best sailor of his age in the country, the Olympics or America’s Cup could be on Zach’s radar in years to come.

Outstanding Contributor with Disability

Winner: Susanne Jenkins

Susanne has worn many hats in the community over the years, from chaplaincy at five nursing homes to board member at Macquarie Care and more.

As the operations manager for Manna House, Susanne services the community delivering more than 4000 food hampers each year to those in need – a service that ran right through the pandemic and continues today.

Diagnosed as profoundly deaf in 2006, Susanne hasn't let anything stand in her way as she works tirelessly to make sure no community or individual is left behind.

Highly Commended: Nathan Parker 

Nathan was the first upper limb amputee to become a pilot officer and graduate from the Australian Defence Force Academy, and continues to fly high in the aviation industry.

From providing joy flights with Matt Hall racing to connecting sick kids with healthcare with Wingz4kids – Nathan sets a great example about what can be achieved in spite of adversity.


Lake Mac Environmental Leader

Winner: Repair it Lake Mac

Repair It Lake Mac creates fun, free events to extend the life of household items and keep them out of landfill.

Skilled volunteer repairers share their knowledge and show attendees how to fix their items that are too good to waste.

Repair It Lake Mac has welcomed more than 900 people to their events and more than 40 volunteers have repaired 600 items including small furniture, electrical items, clothing, tools, toys and more.

Lake Mac Creative and Performing Arts Leader

Winner: Louise Wilkinson

For more than 25 years Louise Wilkinson has dazzled audiences with her vocals and dancing – skills she has passed down to her students at her world class dance studio.

She has directed some of the biggest names in the music industry, from Marcia Hines to Daryl Braithwaite and managed entertainment at major sporting events, including the sold-out Jets vs LA Galaxy match starring David Beckham at Energy Australia Stadium.

A champion for inclusion, diversity and opportunity, Louise makes sure everyone has an opportunity to participate and succeed in the arts regardless of their background or financial circumstances.

Highly Commended: Trish O'Hearn

Trish plays with Toronto Brass and is the musical director of Catalina Brass.

Not only an accomplished musician, Trish travels the country to adjudicate and mentor at band events and for HSC exams.

Last year Trish worked with the legendary James Morrison to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of Toronto Brass, one of many high-profile collaborations in her star-studded career.


Lake Mac Artist and Creator Award

Winner: Scott Bevan

Wangi based Scott Bevan has lived a life filled with water and words.

The former journalist and broadcaster of almost 40 years has written seven books and three plays, often inspired by the environment and people of Lake Macquarie.

Kayaking iconic waterways and interviewing locals to write ‘The Lake’ and ‘Return to the Hunter’, Scott weaves history, characters, cultures, environmental issues and anecdotes to tell the story of our region.


Check out some photos from the night on our social channels


 See a full list of the finalists for our 2024 Lake Mac Awards. 

Category Finalists

Lake Mac Ambassador

Outstanding contribution to the Lake Mac community

  • Bradley Dunn
  • Emily van Egmond
  • Matt Hall
  • Ann-Maria Martin
  • Anna Noon
  • Bailey Seamer
  • Stephanie de Sousa

Lake Mac Young Sports Star

Outstanding performance in junior sports


  • Sienna Eve
  • Eli Gorton
  • Max Middleby
  • Saffron Shiels
  • Zachary Tait
  • Jakob Thompson

Lake Mac Sports Star

Outstanding performance in sports


  • Blake Carr
  • Jennifer Enderby
  • Melanie Green
  • Shaun Swadling
  • Christine Tylee

Lake Mac Sports Leader

Outstanding contribution to sporting life in Lake Macquarie City


  • Maxwell Jeffrey Bristow
  • Russell Grundy
  • Jarrad Hiles
  • Nathan Swadling
  • Valentine Football Club

Lake Mac Artist and Creator

Demonstrating excellence in the field of arts and creative production

  • Scott Bevan
  • Wayde Clarke
  • Cybèle Coutet Craig
  • Outback Jess
  • Amy Vee

Lake Mac Creative and Performing Arts Leader

Outstanding demonstration of leadership and contribution to the arts


  • Debbie Evans
  • Mathew 'Matty Scribes' Holland
  • Trish O’Hearn
  • Stephanie de Sousa
  • Louise Wilkinson

Lake Mac Young Citizen of the Year

Outstanding demonstration of leadership, skills and community contribution

  • Sophie Berude
  • Sienna Eve
  • Saffron Shiels
  • Zachary Tait
  • Emma Walsh

Lake Mac Senior of the Year

Outstanding demonstration of leadership, skills and community contribution


  • Dawn Lambert
  • Annette McEwan
  • Lorraine McKenzie
  • Pam Wellham

Lake Mac Community Group of the Year

Outstanding community contribution

  • Car 2 Home Project
  • Country Women’s Association Belmont Branch
  • NovaCare - Cycling Without Age Hunter
  • Eastlakes U3A
  • Hunter Mountain Bike Association
  • Lake Mac parkrun Team
  • Repair It Lake Mac
  • Wyee Community Hub Inc.

Lake Mac Community Event of the Year

Outstanding event in Lake Macquarie

  • Morisset Lake Macquarie Show
  • Tiny Forest Community Planting
  • Spicy Brain (Allambi Care)
  • Lake Macquarie & Newcastle Suicide Prevention Network
  • Caves Beach Connect

Lake Mac Volunteer of the Year

Outstanding community contribution

  • Barry Chapman
  • Vina Chubb
  • Amanda Jane Gibson
  • Helen Hobbs
  • Anna Noon
  • Justin Rumore
  • Pam Wellham

Lake Mac Environmental Leader

Outstanding contribution to the Lake Macquarie environment

  • Allan Brown
  • Anna Noon
  • Lois Simpson
  • Repair It Lake Mac

Lake Mac Outstanding Contributor with Disability

Outstanding achievement or contribution by a person with disability, including physical, neurological or psychological barriers

  • Blake Carr
  • Susanne Jenkins
  • Jai Lonsdale
  • Nathan Parker

Our sponsors

Thank you to our major Lake Mac Awards 2024 sponsors.

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Read the 2023 recap and see the 2023 Lake Mac Award winners here.