This year’s Seniors Week has gone off with a bang, with a huge range of events throughout the region.
For the second year running, Byron Shire Council presented its Positive Ageing Award, which this year went to a person who spreads their energy and passion from grassroots community causes to international issues.
The award was presented to 88-year-old Brunswick Heads resident Ruth Fox by Byron mayor Simon Richardson at the Mayor’s Morning Tea on Tuesday.
Cr Richardson said when he looked at Mrs Fox’s achievements, he was ‘inspired and exhausted’.
‘At a young 88 years, Ruth is an overachiever. A woman who has an obvious love of life, a deep concern for others and a passion for helping where it’s needed.
‘She is a strong community pillar whose rewarding life experiences have seen her become involved with Landcare and environmental issues, international aid, education, local community events and groups, and international exchanges.
‘Ten minutes chatting with Ruth and you soon realise that she sees opportunity in every challenge and what’s more, she makes it fun,’ he said.
Cr Richardson also congratulated the other award nominees. ‘The strength and depth of senior citizens within our communities is astounding and motivating, and I sincerely thank them for their continued support and love of Byron Shire,’ he said.
Mrs Fox was a foundation member of Tweed/Byron Reforestation Society, one of the first organisations in Australia to promote land care.
She has been president of Byron Flora and Fauna Conservation Society and helped to establish Heritage Park at Mullumbimby. She also led the publicity that culminated in the declaration of Border Ranges National Park and Broken Head Nature Reserve.
World peace is also important to Ruth. She travels on international exchanges and hosts overseas guests as part of Tweed Valley Friendship Force, a world-wide organisation which promotes peace and understanding among all people at grass-roots level. She has organised the collection of material aid for the South Pacific islands and Mother and Baby Packs for new mothers in the New Guinea islands.
Ruth has served as secretary of Brunswick Heads Fish & Chips committee and as convener for Ballina/Byron U3A.
She is also a member of Brunswick Valley Uniting Church Women’s Fellowship, the Laurel Club and Brunswick Valley VIEW Club and has been a valuable member of the CWA for more than 40 years.
There she has served as branch international officer for more than 35 years, regularly attending international study schools at the University of New England.
Ruth has won state cultural awards for poetry and essay writing, loves to swim and walk and encourages membership in the local Walking for Pleasure group. Her caring and concern for others, from her close neighbours to others in the community and overseas, is well known.
Over 150 people attended the Mayor’s Morning Tea at Ocean Shores Country Club. Nigel Stewart and Uncle Magpie from Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal), entertained the attendees with a welcome to country and didgeridoo performance, plus the Brunswick Heads Primary School photography competition was on display, and Byron Shire Youth Council’s Jack Long with U3A president David Ashton gave a humorous talk on The Music We Love.