A well deserved shout out to the many businesses and volunteers from around the Clarence Valley, who have recently been acknowledged for their achievements. SPAR Maclean has taken out the Excellence in Retail award at the NSW Business Chamber Business Excellence Awards – Northern Rivers. This award has come hot on the heels of several other major awards this year including; Clarence Valley Business Awards – Business of the Year and SPAR store of the Year [a national award], for the third year in a row. SPAR Maclean owner Bob Little, thanked his wonderful staff for all their hard work which contributed to their success. “To win these awards at a local level is exciting enough, but to win them when you’re up against all retailers in the Northern Rivers region, is really special,” Mr Little said. “In November we head to Sydney and we will be up against the best in the State; that will be rather nerve racking for us,” he said. Northern Rivers Volunteer of the Year Awards – Tania Williams took out Overall Winner – Volunteer of the Year and Adult Volunteer of the Year, for her work with Lower Clarence Community Radio Inc. Tania said that over the years she has been involved with several voluntary organisations; TLCFM 100.3, Live Prawn Productions [which supports the Yamba Markets] and Surfing the Coldstream Festival. “Volunteering for me is about positive contribution to a much bigger picture – a community that values and includes each other,” Ms Williams said. “That is the stuff that makes our world a beautiful place to live”. Other Northern Rivers Volunteer of the Year awards were: Senior Volunteer of the Year went to Donna Van Leeuwan and Volunteer Team of the Year went to Clarence Youth Action Group. Bowlo Sports and Leisure Yamba was also a winner at the NSW Business Chamber Business Excellence Awards – Northern Rivers, taking out the Excellence in Visitor Services award. Bowlo Sports and Leisure Yamba CEO Phil Boughton said that it was a surprise to win, considering the calibre of the other nominees in the category. “We were up against other big names in our category like Ballina RSL, Summerland House Farm and North Coast Holiday Parks amongst others,” Mr Boughton said. “It’s all about [offering our customers] the complete package and having something for everyone. “It’s tremendous recognition for all the hard work we’ve put in over the last five to 10 years. “We’ve been working hard towards changing the perception within the community and pushing the message that we’re ‘much more than a bowling club’, he said. Yamba Family Day Care educator Milly Fairweather has recently been recognised as one of the nation’s finest in child care, after being announced as a regional winner, in the 2017 Excellence in Family Day Care. Milly said that she has worked in childcare for almost 10 years. “I want to learn as much as I can about the industry and Family Day Care and one day I would like to open my own centre,” Milly said. “I was nominated by the parents of the children I care for. “I will find out if I am the State winner, on 25 September,” she said.