Ballina wins surf award
BALLINA Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Lifesaving Club picked up the prestigious club of the year award at the NSW Awards of Excellence in Sydney on Saturday night.
The Far North Coast branch claimed almost a third of the awards including coach, country athlete, team, lifeguard and junior lifesaver of the year.
Byron Bay's Glen Lawrence was named coach of the year and Josh Brown picked up country athlete of the year.
Lawrence has been the head coach at Byron Bay for 25 years and helped lead the club to a stellar year at branch, state and national level.
FNC branch president Wilson Cregan was full of praise for the Ballina club and was thrilled with the success of the branch.
"I think it speaks a lot about what we're doing up here," Cregan said.
"We nominated Ballina (for the award) because they've been operating extremely well without a clubhouse and adequate facilities for some time now.
"They've had their work cut out and patrolled out of containers so for them to pull this off is magnificent.
"We usually only pick up one or two awards at this event, so it's an exceptional effort."
Brown won four medals at the 2012 Australian surf lifesaving championships, three of them in individual events
The under-15 age division from Byron Bay took out team of the year honours.
The group performed a total of 538 patrol hours between them and did well in local, state and national events.
Lennox Head surf lifesaver Harrison Murphy was named the junior lifesaver of the year and was selected from a field of 22 state finalists who participated in a development camp.
Evans Head's Ruben Roxburgh was awarded lifeguard of the year, although he is now not a member of a club.
"I think it definitely should give the community a fair bit of confidence in us," Cregan said.