Ballina Shire Australia Day Awards winners

CHARITY WORK: Citizen of the Year went to Tracey Everingham, of Lennox Head.
CHARITY WORK: Citizen of the Year went to Tracey Everingham, of Lennox Head. Doug Eaton

OVER the past 18 years, Tracey Everingham has raised almost $300,000 for children with special needs.

"I love what I do," she said.

"Seeing the joy on a kid's face when you present them with something that we take for granted is just an amazing feeling."

Ms Everingham volunteers with Biala Special School at Ballina, the support unit at Southern Cross K-12 School, and also raised more than $18,000 to help re-open Club Lennox.

In front of 500 people at the Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre yesterday, she was named the Ballina Shire's Citizen of the Year.

"I am very humbled and very grateful," she said.

Bruce "Poppa" Gallaher was named the shire's Senior Citizen of the Year for his work with Ballina Meals on Wheels, the Ballina library and the Ballina District Community Services Association.

He also visits residents and Crowley Village and Bupa Aged Care Facility.

If that's not enough Poppa, who turned 80 last week, is a dedicated sportsman and is NSW's oldest registered touch football player.

Other award recipients at the Ballina Shire Australia Day awards included Volunteer of the Year Les Wiles, a member of the Lions Club of Alstonville who helps with events such as the village's New Year's Eve Family Festival, Alstonville Show Week and the Alstonville Christmas Markets.

The Arts/Cultural Award went to acclaimed Aboriginal artist Digby Moran, while the sports award went to Brendan McKeown for his work at the Richmond River Sailing Club.

The Community Event of the Year was jointly awarded to the Ballina Chamber of Commerce for the inaugural Prawn Festival and the Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond for the Las Balsas 40th anniversary civic dinner.

Mayor David Wright congratulated the recipients and nominees, saying they were "an amazing group of people".



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