The Parkes Shire will welcome one of Australia's most highly decorated citizens as the region's 2019 Australia Day Ambassador.
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Mr Allan Sparkes CV, OAM, VA is a Deputy Commissioner of the Mental Health Commission of NSW and is one of only five Australians in the past 40 years to receive the country's highest bravery decoration and civilian award, the Cross of Valour (CV).
The announcement comes amid planning for the January 26 celebrations across the Shire, which will include activities in Parkes and the townships of Bogan Gate, Peak Hill, Trundle and Tullamore.
“We are honoured to have Allan attend our special Australia Day activities at Bogan Gate, Peak Hill and Parkes, as well as present the Citizenship, Cultural and Sporting Awards during the official ceremonies,” Parkes Shire Mayor Ken Keith OAM said.
“Australia Day is an opportunity for our community to come together in the spirit of friendship and harmony, showcasing the unique and diverse culture that makes us Australian.
“We look forward to hearing Allan's story, which epitomises the Australian cultural idiom of mateship, embodying the qualities of equality, loyalty and friendship.”
In addition to his CV, Allan has also been awarded the Commendation for Brave Conduct for saving a man's life, the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to Mental Health Support organisations and the community, and is one of only 10 Australians to receive the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
As a former 20-year veteran of the NSW Police Force, he is also the recipient of the National Police Medal for Service, the Royal Humane Society of NSW Galleghan Award, the NSW Police Commissioner's Valour Award (VA), the National Medal for Service and the NSW Police Diligent and Ethical Service Medal.
Allan is the Patron of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, and apart from being an Australia Day Ambassador, is an Ambassador for Beyondblue, Soldier On, and Kookaburra Kids. He is also a proud supporter of Tribal Warrior Indigenous Youth program and the Indigenous Never Going Back Program at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence at Redfern and a mentor for the Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD) program. He is a member of the Mental Health Commission Suicide Prevention Advisory Panel and a member of the NSW Police Mental Health Intervention Team.
Allan is also an accomplished international yachtsman having sailed his own yacht from England to Australia in 2009 to 2010, a best-selling author of 'The Cost of Bravery', and an active member of the Australian Police Rugby Union O/35’s team.
Allan is one of more than 120 Australia Day Ambassadors from different backgrounds, who will come together to celebrate Australia Day this year with communities across NSW.
He said he values being an Australia Day Ambassador.
“It’s the opportunity to travel to different parts of this extraordinary country and learn from others about how they are overcoming the challenges faced in today's world,” he said.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to join any of the celebrations held across the Parkes Shire. For information about 2019 Australia Day events in the Parkes Shire, visit www.visitparkes.com.au
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