On Tuesday, 8 November 2016, Newcastle Business Club announced the winners of their annual awards as Jon Chin, The Mark Hughes Foundation and Chris Thornton.
Each year the Club recognises an individual, organisation and a younger person for their positive effect on the commonweal of Newcastle and the Hunter region. Established in 1933, the Club has been presenting their Annual Awards since 1975.
Newcastle Business Club President, Jo Bright, said that the awards were initially established because there were many individuals and organisations that were making a significant impact on Newcastle, but not publically recognised.
“Nothing has changed since that original charter – expect that we have expanded from one award to three!” Jo said. “All three of our 2016 winners have made a significant impact, not only in business, but also in their commitment to the community.”
“Interesting all our winners actually know each other and have worked together in various ways in the last few years as well. Jon, in his previous role with Hexham Bowling Club and ClubsNSW, has worked closely with The Mark Hughes Foundation through Club grants, and Chris has actually appeared in one of their marketing campaigns.”
“This also shows the nature of Newcastle and the Hunter region, in that organisations and businesspeople really work together for the greater good of the region.”
Winners are presented with a framed award, which includes a miniature copy of “The Summerhouse” by Hilda Rix-Nicholas. The original of this painting was purchased by the Club and presented to the Newcastle Art Galley as part of the initial awards process.
“The painting symbolises a commitment by this Club and its members to the people of this region and importantly helps us to keep a strong tradition of recognising those who have contributed to the commonweal of the city,” Jo concluded.
IMAGE | Chris Thornton, Jo Bright, Jon Chin, Mark Hughes
For details on the winners can be found below.
Business | The Mark Hughes Foundation
The Hunter region is fortunate to have a range of not-for-profit (NFP) organisations working within the area, however The Mark Hughes Foundation deserves special mention for their significant contribution to the commonweal of the region, within a short period of time.
A NFP organisation faces all the same challenges as any profit driven business, generally with the added pressures of doing so on a tight budget and a reliance on volunteers and community support. The success of the Mark Hughes Foundation has been in spite of all these challenges and has seen the local charity rapidly moving on to the national stage.
After the high-profile diagnosis of Mark Hughes, in 2013, with a serious brain tumour, The Mark Hughes Foundation was launched. It had a commitment to raise much-needed funds to promote research, heighten awareness and support brain cancer patients and their families within the community. The Foundation has broadened that mission to also assist in establishing a communal research register for brain tumour and blood samples, donated by patients around the country.
The Mark Hughes Foundation is acknowledged by the Newcastle Business Club for its contribution towards research into a cure for brain tumours and the significant support provided for patients and their families undergoing brain tumour treatment. The Foundation has made a significant impact on the commonweal of the citizens of Newcastle and the Hunter region.
Business Person | Jon Chin
Throughout his career Jon Chin has contributed greatly to the local region. As the Secretary Manager of Hexham Bowling Club for 24 years, Jon led the charge to define critics who said the Club couldn’t exist because of its geographic isolation and very small local community. Along with his team he created a well-known icon in Ossie the Mossie and developed a successful and community-minded organisation.
As well as his significant business success, Jon has always given his time generously to community groups and charities. He is a White Ribbon Ambassador and Chairman of the Hunter White Ribbon Committee as well as a Director of Northern Settlement Services. The list of other charities he supports includes Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Hunter Youth Mentor Collaborative and Little Wings.
Jon is a well-known and respected member of the community, a strong believer in corporate social responsibility for organisations, as well as having a personal commitment to donating his time. Jon has made a positive impact on the local area and significantly contributed to the commonweal of the Hunter region and it is for these reasons, and many, more that Newcastle Business Club has recognised Jon Chin as businessperson of the year.
Young Business Person | Chris Thornton
Chris Thornton is a locally-grown success story, his passion for food leading him to become an award-winning Chef.
He is the Chef and co-owner of Restaurant Mason, a restaurant that received its first Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Award, One Chef’s Hat, in its first year. Since then it has gone from strength to strength maintaining its One Chef’s Hat for five consecutive years.
His drive for creating Restaurant Mason was not only to take the next step of running his own business and provide a high quality restaurant for the Newcastle public, but also to develop a training ground for Newcastle’s next generation of budding chefs. This has also seen Chris regularly offer his time for TAFE and school mentoring.
Always happy to volunteer his time for a great cause, Chris has had the opportunity to participate in a number of charity events over the past few years. These include Ronald McDonald House Charity Ball (2015, 2016), Variety Chefs Dinner Newcastle (2015, 2016), Dine for a Cure (2016) and Children’s Cancer Institute Dinner (2016).
It is Chris’ ability to build a thriving business that has successfully promoted the Hunter region, as well as his commitment to the industry and the community that has enabled him to significantly contribute to the commonweal of the citizens of the Hunter region.
Since 1933 people from the Newcastle and Hunter business community have met for a luncheon to hear from speakers who present their views, opinions and directions in business and the wider community.
Newcastle Business Club guest speakers have included high profile community members, management experts, business people, politicians and people from the areas of sport, arts and entertainment.