Super Sawtellians celebrated after rained-out New Years Day awards

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh presenting the awards to Young Sawtellian of the Year Ashleigh Geytenbeek and Sawtellian of the Year Steve Kelly.

DRUM roll please.

The annual Sawtellian of the Year awards were finally announced on Australia Day 2024 having missed their traditional moment of presentation on a rained-off Sawtell Super Fun Day on January 1.

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The purpose of the awards is to recognise an individual’s contribution to the community of Sawtell.
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh once again presented the awards.

Sawtellian of the Year went to Steve Kelly while Young Sawtellian of the Year was Ashleigh Geytenbeek.

Steve is a well-known local identity, especially around Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club (SSLSC) and the beach.

A highly decorated member of SSLSC, with no less than 130 awards, Steve is a Life Member of the club.

A regular early morning swimmer and headland identity, Steve continues to help with beach and SSLSC duties.
He is described by friends as a very humble man.

Sawtell Super Fun Day Vice Chairperson Keith Bensley told News Of The Area, “He would not ever think that he may be nominated for this award but for what he does for Sawtell he thoroughly deserves it.”

Steve has previously been involved with the Rotary Club of Sawtell, holding many positions including President and has been involved with local youth through schools and overseas Rotary Youth Exchanges.

Steve is a staunch Sawtellian.

“Anything he is asked to help with, he is there for the village,” Keith said.

“Most recently Steve has volunteered on the committee with The Coffs Coast Festival of Motor Sport.

“Although not a traditional motorsport tragic, he can see its benefit to the community and is right behind it,” said Keith.

The Young Sawtellian of the Year, Ashleigh Geytenbeek, joined Girl Guides in 2018 as an eight-year-old.

From that first day Ashleigh always stepped up to help, always had a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone.

As she has grown these qualities have only amplified, with the now fourteen-year-old always putting the needs of the younger girls in the unit ahead of her own.

On numerous occasions Ashleigh has stepped in and been an extra pair of hands, teaching the girls how to tie knots, put on a sling or bandage when doing first aid training, or helping them find their possessions while at camps.

To enhance these qualities, Ashleigh has also been a part of her school’s outreach program, which requires the students to selflessly give up their time to put together a Christmas concert for local primary schools.

Ashliegh is always thinking of others and how she can assist them with their tasks and jobs.

“Recently we could not have pulled off our annual Girl Guide camp without her assistance,” Sawtell Girl Guides Unit Leader Carolyn Saunders told News Of The Area.

“Instead of just participating in the activities, Ashleigh kept a watch over our younger girls along with the leaders, assisted with the preparation and set up of activities and with cleaning and tidying up after activities, preparation of meals and then cleaning up, without being asked, after meals.”


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