By BELINDA SCOTT
SUNNY Sawtell paid tribute to its heritage with the announcement of Maureen Trezise as the 2005 Sawtellian of the Year yesterday.
A leading figure in the Sawtell Community Progress Association since 1988, Mrs Trezise has fought for the preservation and improvement of the natural beauty, built heritage and infrastructure of Sawtell and was described by Progress Association representatives Barry Barnett and Ray Hackett as 'an initiator of ideas'.
Since moving to Toormina in 1981 she has been involved in projects ranging from remedial classes at Toormina High School, help for the elderly and the Botanic Garden, to the establishment of a skate park which opened in Toormina at 2000.
Since 1988, she has worked on projects to halt cliff erosion and improve beach access; the restoration of Boambee Headland after fire; and the plan to have Dolmans Point and Mick's Retreat added to Bongil Bongil National Park and revegetated.
She is also the editor of the Sawtell Neighbourhood News booklet and is currently campaigning on concerns regarding the loss of areas dedicated to koala corridors as well as the over-development of heritage areas contrary to the 2002 Sawtell Masterplan.
In announcing the award at Sunny Sawtell's Fun Day on New Year's Day, Mayor of Coffs Harbour, Cr Keith Rhoades, himself a former Sawtellian of the Year, told Mrs Trezise to 'keep up the good work'.
Mrs Trezise said she accepted the award as 'recognition of the painstaking and time-consuming efforts of all the members of the Sawtell Progress Association over 10 years'.
Joanna Hughes of Sydney was among former Sawtellians back in town for yesterday's Fun Day.
She returns to Sawtell every summer with her husband and family, and they love the annual New Year's Day event.
This year their three children joined the street procession on decorated bikes, with little Emily Hughes carrying off the prize for best girls bike, and her brothers Ethan and Jasper taking out the boys award.
Barry Hughes said Sunny Sawtell's Fun Day was 'one of the best true family events in Australia', while Joanna Hughes said she loved the long standing traditional aspects of the day, like the procession, the woodchopping and the children's races.
Joanna Hughes said her great grandmother Hannah Simpson had helped to plant Sawtell's famous First Avenue fig trees and her family, the Cockbains, had operated Sawtell's first boarding house, so she appreciated the sense of continuity.
The president of the Fun Day Committee, Warren Hollyman, said the procession had been 'not monstrous, but quality'; the day had gone smoothly and been a great start to 2006.
Police estimated the morning crowd at the Sawtell Reserve at about 2000 people. Mr Hollyman estimated that more than 5000 people had attended through the day.
Awards for floats in the procession went to: Sawtell Surf Club( best services club); Sawtell Four Square (best business) the Bootscooters (most humorous) and the Sawtell Fire Brigade (best decorated).