Armidale Regional Council will be holding its Australia Day Citizenship and Awards Ceremony at the Armidale City Bowling Club on January 26.
This year, due to COVID number restrictions, only invited guests will be allowed to attend the ceremony. There will be a total of 28 people receiving their Australian citizenship this year.
Speaking at the event will be Armidale's Australia Day Ambassador ( and local hero) Steve Widders.
Steve Widders is an Aboriginal man descendant from the Kamillaroi and Anaiwan people of Northern NSW who is presently employed as an aboriginal Community Liaison Officer with Armidale Dumaresq Council.
In 1990 Steve was declared medically blind by former Australian of the year Professor Fred Holllows.
Since being diagnosed, Steve has experienced severe depression and has turned personal adversity and challenge into a full and productive life.
In addition to his full time position with Armidale Council, Steve is an active citizen and regarded as a leader in his community.
His community interest is wide and diverse including participation with local Youth Groups, Disability advocacy, Men's Health, Aboriginal community, Leadership development, Rotary and Lions, and is actively associated with several other community organisations
He is President elect for Armidale AM Rotary Club and has been awarded a prestigious Paul Harris Fellow.
In addition to his local community involvement, Steve currently serves as a member of the NSW disability Council and the National aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (known as NAIDOC).
In 2011, Steve was one of two Blind men to complete the 96km Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.
As part of the blind Courage team, he and his mate, North Coast dairy farmer Jason Bake with the support of the Blind Courage Team raised awareness and funds for guide Dogs NSW and ACT which has assisted with Guide dog training.
In October 2012 Steve rode a tandem bicycle from Brisbane- Sydney to raise awareness and funds to support Men's Health initiatives.
Following the success and impact of this project, Steve, fellow bike riders and their support team are planning a bike ride across New England including Moree in 2013 to highlight Mens Health, active ageing, and support for people with Disabilities
As an Australia Day Ambassador, Steve is keen to encourage his fellow Australians to embrace the freedom of choice, the high standard of living and the opportunities available to all Australians old and new.
For more information on Australia Day in NSW, visit www.australiaday.com.au.