Dyson Percival has been named the Orange Ex-Services Club junior sportsperson of the year, while tennis prodigy Eleanor Crane was named senior sportsperson of the year for her success at Averett College in the United States.
Percival swum at a high level this year for the Polar Bears Swimming Club despite battling illness, while Crane left Australia in August to fly to Virginia after representing the club at major tournaments in NSW.
Tony Mileto was awarded club person of the year for his work as a player, president and volunteer at the Orange Ex-Services Soccer Club over the past two decades.
In particular, Mileto’s work helping erect the clubhouse at Jack Brabham made a large part of the award.
The awards were announced on Sunday.
Percival said swimming had given him back as much as he had put in.
“Swimming has always been there for me, and is a welcome distraction from school and work and everything like that,” he said.
“Being part of the Polar Bears has that community connection and I feel like I’m on a journey with others. Even though we’re apart [in lanes], we’re always connected.”
Percival has been plagued with a mysterious illness that doctors haven’t been able to diagnose for the last three to four years.
He also came down with a virus that affected his breathing just before State and again faced medical issues during his recent fundraising event.
He thanked the Polar Bears for the support and hopes he can inspire other swimmers following the award.
Dyson is also an active member of the Canobolas High Performance Athletes program, and drove the set up of a new gymnasium at Canobolas Rural Technology High School.
He was also instrumental in organising a 24-hour charity bike ride that raised money for a local family whose daughter lives with Prader-Willi Syndrome.