Tweed’s top citizens honoured on Australia Day
HERE are the recipients of the Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards, presented at Pottsville on Sunday.
Congratulations to all of the award winners.
Citizen of the Year Award
KENNETH Eldridge didn't expected the honour of been awarded Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year, even though the active community member has devoted his energy to numerous projects around the region for more than 50 years.
"It was a big shock. I actually said to Barry (Longland) 'are you sure you have the right person? Why me?' It was very humbling and a big surprise," Mr Eldridge said.
The retired teacher of 40 years has written the story of Murwillumbah, by chronicling the Murwillumbah Uniting Church and Murwillumbah East School.
Until recently he has served as the president on the Probus and Tweed Gold Coast Family History and Heritage Association.
"I have always been curious about history and had been doing serious historical studies since the 1970s," he said.
Mr Eldridge has taught in schools around the Tweed since 1953.
He is a member of the Philharmonic Choir and a church elder, preaching to the youth and conducting the Lord's Prayer at the start of council meetings.
He is passionate about the cultivation, exhibition and conservation of orchids, and has served as a life member of the Tweed Orchid Society, where he has also tenured as president.
"I did all these projects because I wanted to and because I was interested.
"I've always loved people and children.
"I will receive the award for Citizen of the Year with great honour and privilege," Mr Eldridge said.
- Alina Rylko
Community Event of the Year Award
KINGSCLIFF Lions Club has been organising Kingscliff Carols by The Coast for more than 30 years now, originally run by the Apex Club with the assistance of the Lions Club.
The Apex Club eventually folded and the Lions took the wheel, producing a fun, popular night out for people of all ages during the Christmas period.
Kingscliff Carols by The Coast, held at the Lions Park next to the surf club, has won the council's Community Event of the Year.
The event started as a fundraiser.
However, about 15 years ago, the Lions Club decided to make it a free event - they wanted to give back to the community for all the effort put into the club throughout the year.
"It's an ideal opportunity to let the Lions Club give a little back to the community, because we expect the community to support us throughout the year in a lot of other different things we do," Lion Peter Oliver said.
"It's a non-profit event with all local talent, which is quite unique on the Tweed Coast, giving great support to the local schools and people."
There have been many people involved in the event year after year who show great commitment and dedication.
Gillian Leonard organises the musical program and Paul Ensby is one of the main entertainers.
They both have been involved in the event for around 15 years.
"We don't run it as a commercial event; it's purely a community celebration," Mr Oliver said.
- Nolan Verheij-Full
Volunteer of the Year Award
A RETIRED life dedicated to helping others through the Terranora Lions Club has earned Stanley Felsmen the Tweed shire's Volunteer of the Year award.
The 79-year-old Kingscliff resident has spent countless hours manning barbecues, football club gates, raffles and more in the past decade.
Nominated by his branch president, Mr Felsmen was tickled pink when he found out just before Christmas he had won the award.
"Mate, it was better than winning Lotto because I didn't know anything about it at all," he said with a proud laugh.
A love for helping others and staying busy drives Mr Felsmen every time he goes out to volunteer.
"It is just an ongoing thing that I really enjoy. We support families and people in need.
"I like to give back to the community that we work in - the money is always best spent there."
The five Lions clubs in the Tweed area support Air Sea Rescue, Tweed Rescue, Westpac and CareFlight helicopters, plus many more organisations and individuals in need of funding.
Mr Felsmen's partner, Doreen Wendt, said volunteering kept him on his toes and nice and spritely.
"Age is only a number and everything he does for the Lions club keeps him young."
Mr Felsmen said he hoped some of his fellow Lions club members could get down to Pottsville on Sunday to see him get his "gong".
- Blainey Woodham
Young Achiever in Community Service Award
EMA Marks simply loves being involved in community projects and her dedication has paid off, with the Pottsville resident collecting the Young Achiever in Community Service Award this year.
Miss Marks was surprised and overwhelmed when she learnt of her award a few weeks ago.
"I only found out a few weeks ago so it is fairly recent for me and I am so stoked to have won."
How she manages to do it all has many in awe.
Whether it is in her role as the charter president of the Rotary Club of Murwillumbah, where she is continuously working on fundraising projects like feeding starving cattle in the Coonabarabran bushfire, or at work at Kingscliff Property Sales and Rentals.
Young people should have a strong voice in the community, according to Miss Marks, who also helps with sponsorship for Rotary Youth Leadership initiatives.
"Young people are definitely the future, so it is great when they get involved in community stuff for sure."
Heavily involved in the Tweed Valley Banana Festival and Tweed River Agricultural Show, raising $6500 for the Westpac Helicopter Service, rebuilding the Showgirl and Junior Showgirl competitions and co-ordinating the Banana Festival charity ball are just a few of her achievements.
Recently, Miss Marks graduated with a business degree and gained another nomination for the NSW Royal Agricultural Society Rural Achiever awards.
- Blainey Woodham
Sporting Achievement Award
TAKING on many of the same waves as the surfing world tour, professional stand-up paddle boarder (SUP) and Tweed resident Beau Nixon had a bumper year on the Stand Up World Tour, earning him the Tweed's Sporting Achievement Award.
A few of his achievements in 2013 include a ninth place overall on tour and a fifth at the Sunset Beach Pro event in Hawaii, making all the travel and cost of competing worth it for the 22-year-old.
"I love to SUP and the best thing about stand-up is that anyone can do it," Mr Nixon says.
"It is opening new realms never found before in sport and it's something you can keep pushing yourself at."
Since turning pro in 2012, Mr Nixon has taken out the Australian Open stand-up title and NSW stand-up men's champion title for two years in a row.
He was voted the Tweed's No.1 currenty competing athlete in a Daily News reader poll, beating big names like Mick Fanning, Stephanie Gilmore and Titan Ryan James by a resounding 29% gap to his closest rival last year.
Born in Gosford on the central coast of New South Wales, Mr Nixon was also voted the Stand Up Paddle Man of the Year by Stand Up Paddle Connect International.
Expect Beau Nixon to become more of a household name in the world of SUP boarding.
- Blainey Woodham
Arts and Cultural Achievement Award
THE Tweed's vibrant cultural scene has continued to flourish into the modern era of arts, with the events such as the Murwillumbah Festival of Performing Arts, which showcases local and interstate theatre talent.
The committee for the festival has won the 2014 Arts and Cultural Award for their organisation of the gala last year, which featured 10,600 entrants in four weeks of competition in speech and drama, music and dance.
Secretary Bryanne Jardine spoke to My Daily News on behalf of the committee, which comprises 26 members.
"The committee and volunteers work all year round to prepare for the festival and to run it successfully."
She said the committee's fundraising activities were pivotal in presenting a quality production.
"We have increased the sponsorship and received a major donation from JJ Richards for drama and dance and that has encouraged more entrants."
The event is now in its 91st year, having started in 1923.
The standard of the festival Murwillumbah Festival of Performing Arts has been described by many adjudicators as among the best in Australia.
"It's really well deserved that the committee, as representative of the volunteers, has received the award, because without them there would not be a festival," Ms Jardine said.
- Alina Rylko