Uki's Barry Harding is congratulated by members of his family after winning an award at this year's NSW Seniors Week awards.
Uki's Barry Harding is congratulated by members of his family after winning an award at this year's NSW Seniors Week awards.

Tweed community dedication celebrated

WHEN it comes to celebrating all things seniors, the annual Seniors Week NSW celebrations offer a great opportunity to shine a light on local high achievers.

In Tweed, eight locals with long histories of helping their community were recognised with Seniors Local Achievement Awards at the opening ceremony of Seniors Week at Banora Point Community Centre in mid February.

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said the awards were a chance to thank seniors for the work they do in the community.

THE NSW Seniors Week is a week to celebrate and enjoy being a senior and to recognize how important seniors are to the local community.

While regions across the North Coast hold some events during the week, in the Tweed, where the aging population is one of the highest in the state, this is the big week.

As well as a full week of activities, the Tweed celebration includes naming Seniors Local Achievement Award winners. Eight seniors were recognized for their work during the Seniors Week opening Ceremony at Banora Point Community Centre in mid-February.

"The NSW Seniors Local Achievement Awards give us a chance to thank a senior for everything they do in the community," Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said at the awards ceremony.

"Whether it is volunteering for a charity, lending a helping hand at a local sporting club or caring for a loved one, older Australians do so much to make our families and communities stronger," Mr Provest said.

Uki's Barry Harding was one of those honoured on the day for his work with the Bushfire Brigade, though he insisted wife Di should share in the award for all she had done behind the scenes over the more than 50 years of service Barry had given his community. Starting as a young man in the 70s, Barry has helped bring many amenities to the small village of UKI.

"I have just been trying to give back what I got when I was a kid," Barry said after receiving his award. "We started the Bushfire Brigade in 72 - I have the minutes from the first meeting at home."

And community service runs in the family according to Di Harding.

"It's funny. Our son joined the fire brigade too. He's in his mid-forties now, he was only 16 and he was made fire captain for 10 years. Barry did it and then Terry Brims did it for a few years and then Darryl (their son) did it for another decade. They both have life membership now, father and son."

Barry is someone you call on when something is needed - getting sports grounds in place for the town, setting up the SES, football and touch football too. "He was instrumental in getting a grant for the tennis clubhouse," Di added. "He did the ground work on that. Also helped get the pub going too (after it burned down)."

And though he's now at a time when retirement should beckon, you can bet if Uki needs anything then Barry will be ready to put up his hand again.

Others recognised were U3A Tweed Coast and Kingscliff Friends of The Library stalwart Rachel Hawkens, Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers Ron Potter, Robert Brown, Mary Grant and Joy Kendrick, Dragon's Abreast founder Christine Lonie and Michael Fiddy, for his promotion of physical and social wellbeing in the community.

The festival theme was Love your Life.

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