Finalists in the Best Dressed at the Ball award.
Finalists in the Best Dressed at the Ball award. Liina Flynn

Op shop lot bop till they drop

AFTER a challenging year fighting an equal pay claim and holding the safety net for the most vulnerable, the community sector let down its hair in Byron Bay on Saturday night.

About 250 people turned out for the inaugural ball and awards night with some taking the 1970s glam theme so far the judges of the best-dressed had a difficult task.

Judging was by Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, Byron mayor Jan Barham, Ballina mayor Phil Silver and Northern Rivers Social Development Council president, Michelle McCartney.

"The North Coast op shops must have been run off their feet," Cr Dowell said.

"We owe an enormous thank you to the staff and volunteers who provide the safety net that keeps so many people in our community from falling through the cracks."

NRSDC's Tony Davies said the night was a fantastic first and the three mayors validated the sector's crucial contribution.

"These staff are often volunteers and receive little recognition for their work in providing care, assistance, support and advocacy for many people in our community who face hardship," Mr Davies said.

"We really appreciate the support of everyone who made it happen, particularly key community service organisations North Coast Community Housing and RDA Northern Rivers."

Mandy Nolan compered the presentations with aplomb. The best-dressed gong had many a close seconds in Pip Parsons, Naomi Worrall, Nora Vidler-Blanksby and Sheree with honourable mentions to Gabrielle Le Bon, Sally Robinson and ACON's Dermott Ryan.

Dermott, in tuxedo and little black dress, cut such a fine figure in fishnets and steelcaps he got many glances from the straight boys.

With formalities over, Hearing Voices Choir opened and the Laura Noble band filled the dance floor and more than a few partied till dawn.

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