Female leaders across the Hastings were recognised for their outstanding contributions to the community on International Women’s Day 2019.
More than 300 women and men gathered at the ninth annual Hastings Heroines breakfast at Panthers, Port Macquarie on March 8.
The breakfast is organised by the Hastings Business Women's Network and Leslie Williams and is a fundraiser for Liberty Family and Domestic Violence Specialist Service.
To date the breakfast has raised more than $80,000 for the women's refuge providing vital resources to help women and children fleeing violence.
At the breakfast guests were inspired by keynote speaker Lisa McAdams who told her own story of dealing with domestic violence and gave practical advice about what colleagues and friends can do to help women attending to flee their abusers.
Xanthia Hughes, a year 12 student and vice captain at Camden Haven High was named the Young Heroine of the Year for her tireless dedication to volunteering.
“I’m a little bit in shock about being named the winner but for me I just love volunteering and playing an active role in my community,” Xanthia said.
A member of the Crowdy Head Surf Lifesaving Club as well as helping in the Harrington and Camden Haven community, Xanthia said she hopes to break down gender barriers.
“At school I am one of the only girls in all of my five classes and over the years I have been bullied for being a girl studying traditionally male topics,” she said.
“After school I plan to be a builder and it can be hard at times to hear people tell you to do something else with your life.
“For me though, on a day like today it is important to celebrate women for who they are and encourage young girls especially to do whatever they want regardless of whether men or women have done it in the past.
“I think that girls can do everything boys can do and probably better so I hope more girls follow their dreams."
Janis Eldridge and Jody Gleeson were joint winners of the Hastings Heroine of the Year and both said they overwhelmed by the recognition.
"In one way or another I have always been involved in helping the community," Jody said.
"I have volunteered with the SES, cricket club, racing club and currently with the Camden Haven Agricultural Society because I love jumping in and getting things done."
"I think helping people comes naturally to women and in the organisation I work with 4Life Care + Training most of our workers are women," Janis said.
"I think women can't sit still and not help others so on International Women's Day I think it is important to recognise all women."
Kelly King, president of the Hastings Business Women's Network said it was great to see so many people come to the breakfast to support women in the Hastings.