Volunteers from the Northern Rivers region have banked countless hours doing what’s right for their community. It’s the spirit of giving that makes volunteering so special.

We can see it in Evans Head surf lifesaving volunteer Aidan Yourell and the courageous pro surfer Brittani Nicholl who stands tall on behalf of people also living with Crohn’s disease. Helen Hamilton’s dedication over a decade to her local Byron Bay community has delivered so much for others in need, while the volunteer team at Looking for Theo Hayez Search Team keep giving their time and hope – which means so much the family of Theo Hayez.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Northern Rivers region is Helen Hamilton, President of the Byron Bay Community Association and Liberation Larder; and founder of the COVID response initiative the Byron Community Pantry.

2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Northern Rivers are:

Young Volunteer of the Year – Aidan Yourell from Evans Head

Aidan has been a leader on the beach as a volunteer with the Evans Head Surf Life Saving Club. He has completed more than 200 hours of volunteering, teaching surf safety to young nippers and keeping the waters safe for beach goers.

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Brittani Nicholl from Pottsville

North coast surfer Brittani Nichols dedicates much of her time outside the water to raise awareness for people living with Crohn’s disease. She has been a volunteer ambassador for more than a decade with the Australian Crohn’s and Collitis Association, raising money and awareness and becoming a role model for other young people learning to live with the disease.

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Helen Hamilton from Ewingsdale

Helen is a relentless volunteer for the Byron Bay Community Association. She led the effort to turn the old Byron Bay Hospital building into an important community resource, helped establish the Liberation Larder community meal service, and founded the COVID initiative the Byron Community Pantry.

Volunteer Team of the Year – Looking for Theo Hayez Search Team

The 80 team members of the Looking for Theo Hayez Search Team have led the community response to help find the missing 18-year-old Belgian backpacker, who went missing in Byron Bay on the first of June 2019. The team has maintained its work over the past 15 months, while also helping Theo’s family cope during this most difficult and traumatic period.

Click here to view a short video of the ceremony.

Regional finalists for the awards are announced at 25 ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony for the announcement of the 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The 2020 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.