A visually impaired endurance swimmer and a Newcastle chef who has dedicated her working life to promoting Indian culture and cuisine have been named as the Upper Hutner's Australia Day Ambassadors.
James Pittar and Promila Gupta OAM will be the guests of honour at Upper Hunter Shire Council's Australia Day events in Scone and Merriwa respectively.
The pair are two of more than 100 remarkable Australians who have volunteered to be ambassadors in 2023 and will travel around NSW in January to participate in Australia Day events.
As ambassadors, individuals share their own stories which is hoped to bring communities together, inspire and create a collective narrative about what it means to be Australian.
Mr Pittar, who was inducted into the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2020, began having troubles with his sight at the age of 10.
Within a decade, his vision was all but gone.
For a kid that dreamed of representing his country, it was a hard blow. And for most, it would have spelled the end of that dream. But not for Mr Pittar.
His swimming career, spanning from 1990 to 2020, has been full of firsts for the vision impaired community.
Among them was in 1998, a few months shy of his 30th birthday, becoming the first visually impaired man to swim the English Channel.
Promila Gupta OAM is the Australia Day ambassador for Merriwa.
Ms Gupta has dedicated her professional life to promoting harmony in the Newcastle community.
She is the president of the Indian Association of Newcastle Inc., teaches Indian cooking at the WEA Hunter campus and is a regular contributor to SBS Radio, broadcasting her recipes in Hindi.
"Harmony for me is a bridge between cultures. A shared experience can help with relationships and one way I do this is with food," Ms Gupta said.
"Being able to share my recipes and educate and enrich other people's lives with new skills, brings me so much joy."
Ms Gupta runs her own business named Promila's Kitchen.
In 2018 Ms Gupta was named the NSW Premier's Multicultural Regional Community Medal Winner.
In the Upper Hunter, Australia Day celebrations will be held in Scone, Merriwa and Murrurundi on Thursday, January 26, 2023.