NOMINATED: Patrick Mullan, Alisha Phoonie, Scott Rodham, Peta Fairbairn, Darcy Turner, John Mandile, Lesley Schoer, Brian Cottle, Phil Crofts and Glenn Cox. (Bill Mabey and Judy Quickenden not pictured).
NOMINATED: Patrick Mullan, Alisha Phoonie, Scott Rodham, Peta Fairbairn, Darcy Turner, John Mandile, Lesley Schoer, Brian Cottle, Phil Crofts and Glenn Cox. (Bill Mabey and Judy Quickenden not pictured). Trevor Veale

First Australia Day Award winner announced

ALISHA Phoonie should not know she will win the Sportsperson of the Year which will only be announced on Australia Day.

But as the only person nominated in her category she is guaranteed the award for her contributions in cricket.

The Sawtell North medium-pace bowler started playing when she was six-years-old, picking grass at the edge of the boundary.

Alisha has since gone on to play for four-time Country Championship winning team North Coast and has been selected for the NSW Combined High School First XI.

Regardless of these accolades, she said she was not expecting the award.

This was the sentiment shared by the remaining 11 nominees for this year's Australia Day Awards.

Nominated for the Sue Hunter Memorial Award is Coffs Harbour's Judy Quickenden and John Mandile, and Sandy Beach's Peta Fairbairn.

Scott Rodham from Mullaway and Coffs Harbour's Glenn Cox and Brian Cottle were nominated for Volunteer of the Year.

Coffs Harbour's Darcy Turner and Patrick Mullan from Woolgoolga were nominated for Youth Citizen of the Year.

Sawtell's Bill Mabey and Coffs' Lesley Schoer and Phillip Crofts were nominated for Citizen of the year.

The Coffs Harbour Australia Day Award winners presentation will follow the citizenship ceremony held at the Botanic Garden.

"This is our chance to honour and congratulate those absolute heroes who do so much for our community,” Coffs Harbour City Council Mayor Denise Knight said. "They're never the people to blow their own trumpets.”

There will be nearly 60 people from 16 countries who will become Australians at the ceremony.

"Australia Day is always a special day for Australians, but for those becoming an Australian citizen it's a particularly significant occasion,” Cr Knight said.

The citizenship ceremony will start at 8.30am and the award presentation at 10am.

There will also be a barbecue breakfast available from 8.30am.

Attendees gain free access to the Saltwater Freshwater Festival.



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