2017 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year Mitch McPherson has been named as this year’s Australia Day Ambassador for the Derwent Valley. Mr McPherson is the founder of the suicide prevention organisation “Speak Up! Stay Chatty”.
Derwent Valley mayor Ben Shaw said anxiety, depression and suicide were issues affecting the lives of many people, and especially for men in regional areas. “Like many in the community, my life has been personally impacted by suicide and I feel strongly about raising awareness about these issues,” Councillor Shaw said.
“The work that Mitch and his team at Stay Chatty have been doing is greatly needed and their efforts are to be commended,” he said.”It’s a pleasure to welcome him to the Derwent Valley as our Australia Day Ambassador and to talk about his work with our community.”
Mr McPherson will be involved with official proceedings on the day, and will include speaking about living with kindness and purpose when he addresses the crowd at the Derwent Esplanade in New Norfolk on Australia Day, January 26.
When his younger brother Ty took his own life in 2013, Mr McPherson turned his devastating loss into a successful suicide prevention charity. He has channelled his energy and ideas into Speak Up!
Stay Chatty, which honours his brother Ty and spreads the message that it’s OK to not be OK.
The Australia Day Ambassador program sends high achieving Australians to more than 300 community celebrations nationwide every Australia Day. Ambassadors include past recipients of the
Australian of the Year Awards, sportspeople, scientists, businesspeople, actors and community
workers who provide inspiration and pride to Australia Day events and activities.
Tasmanian Australia Day Organising Committee chairman Renee Anderson says the Australia Day Ambassador program is an opportunity for all Australians, particularly those in regional areas, to meet and gain inspiration from Australian achievers who come from all walks of life. “Our Australia Day Ambassadors play an important role in our Australia Day celebrations, sharing their stories and experiences in communities across Tasmania. In turn, they get the opportunity to learn about the people, traditions and attractions of the local communities they visit’”
The council encourages all Derwent Valley residents to attend the Australia Day event on January 26 at the Derwent Esplanade from 10am. Activities will include free family fun with D’FAT and The Salvation Army, live music, a Lions Club sausage sizzle, face painting and jumping castle for the kids. The day will kick off with the Tasmanian Roadrunners’ Derwent Valley Fun Run, and and the second annual Colour Run will be held. Official proceedings start at noon, followed by the presentation of the 2019 Australia Day Awards.
The Maydena community will stage its traditional Australia Day walk to Junee Cave and back, starting from the local playground at 10am, followed by a barbecue lunch at the playground at noon, as well as fun and games for all ages.
The Bushy Park Pool will once again offer free entry, a sausage sizzle and Australia Day fun and games, from 10am on January 26.