Firefighter is top citizen

This year's Ruakākā Citizen of the Year is Terry Baylis, a long-time member of the Ruakākā Fire Brigade.

Seven other outstanding community members were nominated for the 2018 awards organised by Ruakākā 's community library: Kristin Orr for service to dance; Jackie Boyd of Ruakaka Dog Rescue; Tracey Collins, who set up Bream Bay's sharing sheds initiative; Bobby Joe Paikea, organiser of Ruakākā's recent Villy Day Out; Ngaire Kramer from healthcare shuttle service Linking Hands, Graeme Allen for service to Coastguard and Jo Hindley, for mentoring learner drivers.

Baylis, also nominated for the award last year, felt humbled to be pronounced winner. "I got quite a shock, I felt quite faint and funny," he said.

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"It took me a couple of days to get over it." The fire service has played a huge role in Baylis' life for 42 years, but he said it would have been impossible without the support of family and friends, particularly wife Kim, and his colleagues.

He has worked in various roles through the years with the fire service, and currently takes care of Ruakākā Fire Brigade's administration tasks as well as continuing to educate children through the fire service's school and Fire Awareness and Intervention programme.

He shares his experience to help new volunteers to the brigade and is a peer supporter to his colleagues after traumatic callouts. Baylis has just turned 70 and plans to continue his fire service work for at least another eight years, aiming for his Double Gold Star for 50 years' service to the NZ Fire Brigade.

New parade route
Ruakākā's Christmas parade this Saturday will follow a new route through the town centre car park.

Organisers say the new route will be safer for participants and spectators and less disruptive for people not involved in the parade. The parade will do two circuits, so spectators can see floats twice.

Marshals will direct floats to the assembly point and spectators to viewing areas and Marsden Lions will lead the parade, so the float drivers know where to go. There will be no viewing from Marsden Point Rd or Peter Snell Rd, and floats still need only be decorated on the non-driver's side.

There is still time to enter a float or walker, call 021 120 3633 or email marsdenlions@gmail.com. The parade starts at 10.30am and will be followed by family entertainment at the Ruakākā Town Centre, organised by Marsden Lions.

Summer beach clean
Just five people turned up to the first Bream Bay beach clean-up of summer, but what they lacked in numbers they made up for with enthusiasm.

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The Uretiti beach clean-up crew (from left): Tialeena Megchleise, Anita Hollis, Deveion Megchleise, Philippa Ross and Jasmine Nossiter with the results of half an hour's work. Photo/Julie Paton
The Uretiti beach clean-up crew (from left): Tialeena Megchleise, Anita Hollis, Deveion Megchleise, Philippa Ross and Jasmine Nossiter with the results of half an hour's work. Photo/Julie Paton

Organiser Philippa Ross plans monthly beach clean ups around the Bream Bay area over summer. The first was at Uretiti, and the group were pleased to find very little trash to pick up.

"Normally the car park here is a mass of rubbish," Ross said. She hopes people are getting the message about taking their trash home with them.

Anita Hollis of Whangārei Heads brought daughter Jasmine and a couple of friends along to help. "It's soul satisfying to do this – I tell the kids that you sleep well at night knowing you have helped the environment."

Sharing Sheds growing
Bream Bay now has four sharing sheds – stalls where excess food and produce can be dropped off to be shared in the community.

Ruakākā School principal Marilyn Dunn with students (from left) Quinton Showler, Liam Irvine and Robert Mudford with the new community sharing shed outside the school. Photo/Tracey Collins
Ruakākā School principal Marilyn Dunn with students (from left) Quinton Showler, Liam Irvine and Robert Mudford with the new community sharing shed outside the school. Photo/Tracey Collins

New sheds at Waipu, outside the playcentre on St Mary's Rd, and at Ruakākā School, join the existing sheds at One Tree Point outside Lifepoint Church and at the Bream Bay Trust in Takutai Place.

Sharing Sheds, an initiative brought to the Bream Bay community by Tracey Collins and maintained by volunteers, have the philosophy "take what you need and leave what you can". Follow the Bream Bay Sharing Sheds facebook page for updates on fresh produce availability and seasonal recipes.

Pipe the year to a close
Bring your year to a musical finish at the Helen McGregor Memorial Trophy piping competition. The evening starts at 7pm on December 31 at Waipu's Celtic Barn.

McGregor's dying wish in 2003 was to establish a special piping competition for top class pipers to be as creative and innovative as they wished.

Each entrant plays his/her own piece for eight minutes, aiming for a first prize of $300 and the trophy, second $200 and third prize of $100. Top level piper Bain McGregor will judge the event along with an audience vote. Tickets available at the door for $10 and after the competition you will still have time to see in the New Year.

Christmas at the races
The hospitality marquees and rooms are fully booked but there is still room for in the grandstand and on the hill lawn for spectators at Ruakaka Racing's annual Christmas at the Races event. Entry is $5 for 18 years and over. Buses available, prizes for best Christmas themed race wear. The man in the big red suit will visit and Santa's picks will help guide betting – the Santa's pick jockey in each race will wear a Santa hat. Gates open 12 noon.

Lifepoint Church carols
Lifepoint's annual carol service is on this Sunday. Free dinner (including lamb on the spit and mussel fritters) starts at 5pm with carol singing at 6pm. Bring something to sit on and your best carolling voice and get into the spirit of Christmas at Lifepoint Church, One Tree Point Rd. Free entry.

Free Christmas breakfast
Waipu Lions are putting on a community breakfast this Christmas Day, 8.30-9.30am at the Waipū's Coronation Hall, for people without family or friends nearby to share the day with. If you would like to attend this free community event, phone Sharon Carroll on 432 0333 or 027 265 3227 so organisers know how many to cater for.

One Tree Point foreshore comment deadline
If you have an opinion on Whangārei District Council erosion control and public access proposals for the One Tree Point Foreshore, make sure your voice is heard by next Wednesday, the deadline for comments on the proposals, which you can check out at www.wdc.govt.nz (search for One Tree Point Consultation) or view a printed copy at the Ruakākā Community Library.

■ Email Julie Paton at moojoy@xtra.co.nz if you've got Bream Bay news to share with Northern Advocate readers.