HER work with the young people of Byron Bay earned Nicqui Yazdi the shire’s Citizen of the Year award at yesterday’s citizenship ceremony in the A&I Hall in Bangalow.
Ms Yazdi’s determination to get things done was hailed by Byron mayor Jan Barham.
Ms Yazdi said the award ‘belonged to the whole community’.
She has been an active community worker for 12 years and is well known for her groundbreaking work making Schoolies a safer time for youngsters coming to Byron.
As the Schoolies hub co-ordinator Ms Yazdi organised 66 local volunteers to staff the tent at Apex Park in Byron Bay for 24 hours a day. The 2009 event was one of the smoothest in its history.
Other award recipients were Junior Sportsperson of the Year, 11-year-old Marlie Campton, of Bangalow, for her performances in cross-country and middle distance running.
Senior Sportsperson went to Neil Moran, the bastion of rugby union in Bangalow and chair of the Richard Allen 14 Fund, which resulted in a purpose-built home for the injured rugby player.
The Environmental Volunteer Project Award was won by the Green and Clean Awareness Team for its work looking after the dunes along the front at Byron, and the Community Event was taken by the Byron Bay Ministers Fellowship for organising Carols by the Sea.
Senior Citizen of the Year was Cecile Ann Sharp for her tireless work in the shire for 37 years.
“Not so much of the ‘senior’,” she joked receiving her award.
Volunteer of the Year was Gregg Miller, of Suffolk Park, who spends ‘countless hours’ working for the Rural Fire Service and will even collect for the Salvos when they can’t make it.
Fourteen people from countries ranging from Chile to Italy became Australians at the hall, including 89-year-old James Park.
Elsewhere in Byron Shire thousands gathered at Wategos for the beginning of the second Australia Day Surfers Charity Challenge, in which 450 paddlers fought their way through the waves to Main Beach.
They arrived to a festive atmosphere at the surf club where the Rotary Club was hosting a breakfast, helped by the lilting tones of a Hawaiian band.
Byron Bay was quiet into the late afternoon, with family groups picnicking in the Main Beach park and playground.