A STOCKTON Heath mum is celebrating her Australian citizenship after attending a special ceremony of her own onboard a Royal Australian Navy warship.

Jesse Hunter, 28, chose Australia Day (January 26) to have citizenship conferred along with 16,000 others.

The former Padgate High School pupil received her Australian Citizenship from the Governor of New South Wales, David Hurley, onboard HMAS Canberra in Sydney Harbour.

Jesse and her husband, Chief Petty Officer Aviation Support Lee Hunter, emigrated to Australia in August 2013.

The pair met at a wedding in 2011 and now live in Sydney with their three-year-old daughter, Lily.

The mum-of-one worked at Beamont Primary School as a one-on-one support worker before making the move aged 23.

Jesse said: “The Royal Australian Navy is the whole reason we are here living in Australia, so to have an opportunity such as this, to have my citizenship conferred in HMAS Canberra, with my husband and daughter on Australia Day is an incredible honour.”

Jesse has returned home twice since emigrating but plans to stay out in Australia for the foreseeable future where she loves the lifestyle and her job.

Lee, also from Warrington, transferred from the Royal Navy where he spent 13 years as an Aircraft Handler.

He said: “The career opportunities offered by the Royal Australian Navy were enticing. I always loved the way of life, the sport, the scenery and the people.

“The future of the Royal Australian Navy is very exciting with new capabilities continuously being developed – I wanted to be a part of it.”

The family first settled in Nowra, where Lee carried out his duties at the HMAS Albatross Training Authority. He is now a valued member of HMAS Canberra’s Ship’s Aviation Department.

Lee added: “I had heard about the ‘true blue’ Australians who give it a go and the welcome we received as a family is something we have never experienced.”

Jesse began her Australian career working as an early childhood educator while continuing the teaching degree she began in the UK.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Teaching in December from Charles Sturt University and secured an internship with the Child Life and Music Therapy department at The Children’s Hospital Westmead.

She also works as an assistant to children and families in the oncology treatment centre.

Jesse said: “The role means I can help children learn and develop coping strategies in the hospital environment.

“I hope to complete this successfully so I can give back a little of what we received from this wonderful country and perhaps one day teach voluntarily in rural parts of Australia.”