Murray’s top woman

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

The accolades keep coming for Deniliquin’s Brenda Norman, who last year successfully swam the English Channel to raise money and awareness of youth mental health initiatives.

The Deniliquin High School teacher was honoured with the NSW Murray Electorate Woman of the Year Award at the International Women’s Day luncheon last Friday.

Miss Norman was a panellist for the Edward River Council event at the Deniliquin Golf Club, and used the chance to encourage others in the community to support and guide young local women to follow and achieve their dreams.

She said the electorate award — presented at the lunch by NSW Member for Murray Austin Evans — came as a surprise.

‘‘It has all been very overwhelming. I thought I was going to just be a panel speaker at the lunch and did not expect to receive anything,’’ she said.

‘‘I am honoured and surprised to have been awarded this; it was certainly a shock.’’

A day earlier Miss Norman attended the NSW Woman of the Year Awards at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, and said it was a humbling experience hearing the stories of many remarkable women from across the state.

‘‘I was honoured to be named as a finalist for the 2019 Regional Woman of the Year Award for my work with Channel4Change.

‘‘The morning was a great celebration of the wonderful work women are doing across New South Wales.

‘‘I would like to congratulate the other finalists in my category for the amazing things they are doing in their regional communities.

‘‘It was a very surreal experience to have been invited alongside remarkable women.’’

Miss Norman founded Channel4Change, which she continues to champion with the help of the Deniliquin Mental Health Awareness Group.

At the time of her channel swim in August last year, $60,000 had been donated to Channel4Change initiatives. A portion of the funds has already been used to develop and implement youth mental health initiatives.

The winner of the Regional Woman of the Year Award was Dr Louise Baker, who has been a GP and obstetrician in Cowra for 30 years.

The other finalists were Kate Loubet from Wollongbar who is an autotelic advocate, researcher and CEO of Heartfelt House and Edwina Sharrock who is the founder of Birth Beat, an online education platform changing the way parents prepare for birth and beyond.