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• The three winners of the inaugural Australia Day Bay Islander of the Year awards Lochie McClintock-Hill, Meryl Dobe and Al Prestwood.

The three winners of the inaugural Bay Island Australia Day Awards, were popular winners.

The three were selected from more than 60 names that were submitted for the very first Australia Day Awards on the Bay Islands.

The presentation was held at a special Australia Day Regatta held by the Sandy Beach Sailing and Kayak Club at the the very appropriate Sandy Beach overlooking Canaipa Passage on Russell Island.

In a magnificent setting, backed by the lovely Lions Boulevarde Park, the awards were presented by Cr Mark Edwards.

The winner of the major award, Bay Islander of the Year, is Macleay Island stalwart Meryl Dobe.

Meryl is known throughout the islands for her selfless contributions to many groups, organisations and activities, particularly the arts.

The winner of the Senior Bay Islander of the Year is Al Prestwood. Al is a renowned conservationist and environmentalist who is often seen walking Russell Island with bag-in-hand picking up rubbish.

Young Lochie McLintock-Hill is the Young Bay Islander of the Year. Lochie became active when his best friend, Ethan Stephenson, was hit by a car last year walking home. His plea to Redland City Council resulted in a unanimous decision to construct a footpath the length of the island.

All three, in their acceptance speeches, deflected the credit that comes with the awards.

All selflessly said they shared it with others who had contributed similar efforts.

The island awards were the brainchild of Steve Morgan and Bob Turner of the Sandy Beach Sailing and Kayak Club.

The awards became a possibility when Cr Edwards and The Friendly Bay Islander offered support and sponsorship of the event.

A big crowd from all islands made their way to Sandy Beach and Lions Park for the very successful inaugural event.

Competition sailing and kayak events were staged, with the traditional Australia Day cricket match in the lovely setting, a highlight of fun and laughter.

Steve Morgan said the event would now be 'firmly established' on the island calendar.

"We will look to expand and develop the Australia Day Awards and Event, making them even more island inclusive," he told The Friendly Bay Islander.



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