Senior Australian of the Year named

A Melbourne entrepreneur and philanthropist has been recognised for his ongoing contribution to the community.

Melbourne entrepreneur and philanthropist, Pat LaManna has been named the 2009 Senior Australian of the Year at a ceremony in Canberra on the weekend.

Mr LaManna relates readily to the misfortunes of others, having fought against racism and financial hardship when he arrived in Australia from Italy in 1948, the official citation said.

Despite these obstacles, Mr LaManna went on to become a successful entrepreneur who has made significant contributions to charities in Australia and the Third World.

Mr LaManna has been a Lions Club member for 40 years, founding the Melbourne Markets branch in 1972.

The club, which has elected Mr LaManna president seven times, is now the highest fund-raising Lions Club in Australia.

Mr La Manna has also made significant contributions to medical research.

He started the Hand-to-Hand Appeal for the Bionic Hands Department at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital and the Pat LaManna Cancer and Research Stroke Foundation which has raised $1.5 million to date.

Mr LaManna was also the driving force and principle sponsor of Melbourne’s free annual Passion Play – an outdoor re-enactment of the story of Christ – which began in 1997.

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