Mullum lays out red carpet for its Petria
By STEPHANIE FORESTER
SHE'S Mullumbimby High School's most famous former student. She's one of Australia's favourite Olympians. And she's one of ours. Mullumbimby will turn on the show of its civic life today for triple-gold medallist Petria Thomas and Byron Shire's Olympic kayakers Nathan Baggaley and David Rhodes. No-one would expect anything less than the very, very best from parade organiser Nola McMahon, from the high school's AV department. Nola refuses any credit. She says it's a school effort, as well as 'me and the ladies in church'. According to Nola, they've got 'hotlines to heaven'. More than 1300 school children from all over Byron Shire will welcome Petria and her fellow athletes home at lunchtime. There'll be hundreds of little human butterflies fluttering by in honour of the butterfly champion. Representatives from The Giants will be also there, and so will Mullum's champion athletes, big and small. The parade is due to start about midday from the corner of Stuart and Burringbar streets. It will be led by the Spaghetti Circus and marchers will meet outside the council chambers for a Nola McMahon take on Petria Thomas: This Is Your Life (only this one's called Your Life In Mullumbimby). Tonight at 7.30 at the Byron Bay Beach Resort, Petria and her husband, Institute of Sport trainer Julian Jones, will gather with Petria's early coach Stan Tilley and ABC sports commentator Gerry Collins, who called Petria's goldmedal-winning performances at the Athens Olympics, to answer questions from inquisitive locals.