Living the Dream – A year in review from News Of The Area’s Karen Gribbin

Karen Gribbin in Canada.


SEVEN months ago, if someone had told me I’d be writing for News Of The Area (NOTA), I’d have said “Ya dreamin’!”, but here I am, and what a year it’s been.

My year started with stepping outside of my box, and leaving my job to do the things I love; writing, photography and travel.

For me life suddenly seemed too short to keep putting my dreams on hold.

It was like the decision was made, and NOTA fell into my path.

Interacting with people and writing about their experiences has expanded my world.

My year with NOTA has been exciting, it has opened up new and exceptional ideas, and given me the confidence to put myself out there.

Nambucca Valley people are creative and diverse.

They are passionate in their thinking whether it be about community, culture, the environment or politics.

Many of the stories I’ve covered will remain with me forever, and along the way, I’ve met many who have become friends.

A standout for me was the opening of the foot bridge at E J Biffin Playing Fields, allowing greater access to playing fields for all members of the Croquet Club.

I was also so lucky to reconnect with Uncle Martin Ballangayry, this meant a great deal to me, as Martin was a great friend to my late husband.

Then there was our very own Nambucca Spoonville set up by Sam Flagg and her two girls Molly and Zivah, as a Covid-19 project to get the community involved in an outside activity.

I have met people using their skills to teach, volunteer, and help others.

Groups like the U3A, the Bridge Club, Scotts Head Surf Club, VIEW Club, Nambucca Writers Group, Nambucca Valley Phoenix and the Macksville Breast Cancer Support all do an amazing job for our community.

Since covering the Scotts Head Paddle Board competition I’ve even bought myself a paddle board.

There were environmental issues covered, from pine trees in Scotts Head to rubbish dumping in Stuarts Point, the Valley is full of passionate people who care about their environment.

Celebrating Valley Women was another joy to cover.

Who does not want to help celebrate our exceptional women; volunteers, writers, painters and community radio stars.

Recently I had the pleasure to cover the ‘Wildlife’ Exhibition for artists with disabilities.

The work was colourful and representative of our natural wildlife and environment.

And lastly, I couldn’t end without mentioning Freya Paton, and her 80th Birthday Exhibition.

I was on my way to cover the U3A Registration Day and upon leaving the Macksville RSL carpark, a group of women commented on the dress I was wearing.

I stopped to thank them, and Freya said she was having an exhibition for her birthday.

When I gave her my card, saying I’d love to cover such a story, she was astounded.

Freya’s exhibition was a wonderful experience, the work was exceptional, what a way to celebrate a birthday, it was an event that will stay with me for quite some time.

Whoever said dreams don’t come true, didn’t know what they were talking about.


By Karen Gribbin

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