Day in the sun for Richmond Valley

Citizen of the Year Margaret Powell volunteers because she loves her community.

Twenty-three-year-old Edward Maher of Backmede said he owes his life to the Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and wouldnt be here without them.

The helicopter rescued Edward after a motor bike accident left him with a brain haemorrhage and his charity work with them began whilst he was still in hospital.

Edward has since become a media spokesperson and ambassador for the organisation and reckons he cant do enough for them.

Last Friday, Edward said he couldnt believe it when he was named Richmond Valley Councils Young Citizen Of the Year in recognition of his extensive voluntary work with the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and his achievements in equestrian and motor sports.

Three individuals and two organisations won awards for their outstanding contributions to community as part of the Richmond Valley Council Australia Day Celebrations at the Evans Head-Casino Surf Life Savers Club.

Before presenting the awards, Mayor Charlie Cox said deciding on the winners was never easy and congratulated all the nominees. Cr Sandra Humphries praised the winners as having true altruism flowing through their veins.

Out of four nominees, Coraki resident Margaret Powell took out the award for Citizen of the Year.

Margaret was awarded for her dedication to the Coraki community for over 30 years of service through her volunteer work.

Described as a quiet achiever, Margaret said she was very proud and honoured to win.

I dont really expect rewards, I do this work because I love it and I love my community, she said.

Jacqueline Freney of Casino, 14, claimed the Junior Sportsperson of the Year award for her achievements in multi-disability swimming.

Jacqueline, who has cerebal palsy, has trained intensively for the past four years and her success at various swimming competitions meant she recently qualified for the 2007 Paralympic Preparation Program. Jacqueline said the award means a lotit took a lot of preparation to get here and its good to be rewarded for all the hard work.

Casino Fire Brigade Championship Team won the Sports Team of the Year award. The winners of last years State Fire Fighters Championships were very proud to have been nominated and to win according to Col Bennet, while fellow team member Rohan Coe added: It is to firefighting what the Ashes is to cricket.

Coraki Rural Transaction Centre Art Committee took out the Community Event of the Year award for its Coraki Tea Tree Art Prize, an annual art prize open to locals and interstate competitors, now in its tenth year.

Kate Walch accepted the award on behalf of the Committee, describing it as a lovely surprise.

After the award ceremony, celebrations continued into the evening and around 200 revellers took advantage of the great weather to enjoy live local music, market stalls and of course, the beach.

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