100-YEAR-old Warwick Exton is Frankston’s citizen of the year.
Exton is a passionate environmentalist who dedicates his time to preserving and restoring Sweetwater Creek Reserve. He has written a book, Action Sweetwater Creek, which details his love for the place and calls for the site to be officially proclaimed a nature reserve.
Before working with the Action Sweetwater Creek group and the Frankston Primary School committee, Exton served in World War Two. He finished his service as a flight lieutenant in the United Kingdom.
In his acceptance speech, Exton stressed the importance of looking after the environment. “I’d like to stress the need for people to take care of their environment. If we don’t it will turn around and bite us. It’s a very long-term thing – people have got to look after trees and greenery just as the First Nations people did before us,” he said.
“I am a very proud citizen of this country. We are equal. Being egalitarian means you treat people the same way you want to be treated yourself. That is an important lesson. We are all in need of help from somebody somewhere.”
Jack Lyons was named the 2023 young citizen of the year. The professional MMA fighter and plumber is running 50 marathons to raise money for people experiencing homelessness.
Lyons said he was “proud” to win the award. “I just want to say I’m trying to do my part to bring change. I’m just doing me. I’ve run 25 marathons straight, and 25 to go. It’s been a hard journey, but not as hard as others who battle day to day.”
The Women’s Spirit Project won the 2023 community award. The prize was accepted by organisation founder Jodie Belyea.