Michelle Faithfull has been creating positive moments out of negative circumstances for more than a decade.
It is the Bar Beach woman's passion for community fundraising that has earned her the title of Newcastle's 2020 Citizen of the Year.
Her achievements include coordinating the Hunter Homeless Connect Day and hosting almost 10 years of the annual Divas on the Green golf day at Merewether Golf Club for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (WRHS) and the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation (HBCF).
"It's an absolute honour and a privilege to receive this award, particularly in a community that I really love," she said.
Over the past decade, her fundraising events have gathered $180,000 for charities close to her heart, including more than $90,000 for the WRHS, almost $65,000 for the HBCF and $20,000 for the new Ronald McDonald House Family Room at John Hunter Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
Ms Faithfull said that after the loss of her first child in 1987, she had an understanding of the importance of community.
"I moved here 16 years ago and started to volunteer with charities such as Camp Quality, Canteen, The Starlight Foundation and Ronald McDonald House," she said.
"Volunteering in itself is something that really makes my heart sing."
Knowing her fundraising changes the lives of many fuels her passion.
"For me it's all about creating something positive from something negative," she said.
"I've had quite a few periods of grief in my life and this is what gets me out of bed."
Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Ms Faithfull's commitment to improving the lives of others had earned her the top honour.
"Until today, Michelle was one of Newcastle's unsung heroes, so the City of Newcastle is thrilled to recognise her tireless efforts to assist those in our community who are doing it tough," she said.
"Michelle embodies everything that is good about the human spirit.
"The Citizen of the Year award is a fitting honour for her dedication to bettering our society and I hope the recognition helps her continue that endeavour."
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN NEWS TODAY
- Austar mine to close with loss of almost 100 jobs | UPDATED
- Jasper's near death prompts mother's warning of drowning risk
- Country Cricket NSW to help resolve ugly Newcastle row over suspensions
- Sacked alleged 'sleeping' Hunter jail worker wins early court round
- Dash for cash as iconic Newcastle harbour swim returns