By UTE SCHULENBERG
Tears and hugs greeted the announcement that Nea Armstrong was this year's Bellingen Shire Citizen of the Year.
Mrs Armstrong, who won from a field of 12 nominees, was shaking with surprise as she acknowledged 'it's all teamwork ? you can't do it on your own'.
Mrs Armstrong was honoured for her many many years of community service, which includes 50 years inspiring young women as an active guide leader, years of literacy support and scripture teaching at local primary schools plus her great love ? 35 years with the Bellingen Choral Group.
Bellingen Shire's Australia Day was held at Gleniffer this year.
Ambassador Grahame Bond, well remembered from his days as boxing comedian Aunty Jack, described the setting as idyllic and the Bellingen Shire Band as 'red hot'.
He told the crowd it was 'hard making a living as an anarchist', but that the tolerance and openess of this country made it possible ? 'thank heavens'.
Young Citizen of the Year was Dorrigo teenager, Michaela Atkins.
Michaela's energy and committment got her the award. She acts, plays and coaches soccer, is involved with various school fundraising initiatives, has represented Dorrigo High in various sports ... oh! and she learns the guitar and also works part-time.
Junior Sportsperson was Bellingen swimmer Michael Anderson, who recently competed in the Deaflympics in Melbourne and Dorrigo athlete, AJ Gilbert, was announced Sportsperson of the Year, with credits in athletics, cricket, rugby league and rugby union to his name.
The Bellingen Agri-Cultural Show was voted Community Event of the Year.