News

Emily shines in bid to win quest

NewsMail reporter Emily Prain reflects on her the past years as the Jupiters Summer Surf Girl entrant for Bundaberg.
NewsMail reporter Emily Prain reflects on her the past years as the Jupiters Summer Surf Girl entrant for Bundaberg. Max Fleet

IT FEELS like only yesterday I was sitting here at the same desk, staring at the same computer, hands at the ready on the same keyboard wondering how I was going to introduce myself as the 2013/14 Jupiters Summer Surf Girl entrant.

You see, I was hesitant because the community had only just been through its biggest flood in recorded history and here I was about to embark on a year-long fundraising and awareness quest representing the Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club.

I did not feel comfortable asking a community, that had already lost so much, to support me when hundreds didn't even have enough money to fix their homes and businesses.

But it was during the time of the flood and the massive clean up effort afterwards that I saw a different side to surf life savers, who were a long way from their usual haunt between the red and yellow flags on our region's beaches.

They were there at evacuation points, at the ready with Inflatable Rescue Boats and first-aid provision and were there for the Mud Army's big clean up.

And I think that was something the community found really comforting - that the people they trusted to guard our beaches, they could trust during those dark days and months of recovery.

I realised then that the Jupiters Summer Surf Girl competition isn't just about the money.

Yes, raising funds is important, but none more so than raising awareness of an organisation that is there for the community whether it is between the flags or in times of natural disaster.

And so began my year-long adventure.

A Surf Girl committee was formed and we immediately began brainstorming fundraising ideas and surf safety awareness campaigns relevant to our region.

Our first major fundraiser was the 2014 Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club calendar.

I do have a long list of thank yous and the first should probably go out to every single person I approached, heckled with and, in some cases, playfully bribed to buy one of the calendars at festivals, shopping centres and businesses.

I'm pretty sure I forced every single family member, their families and their families' families to buy the calendars as Christmas gifts, so hopefully there aren't too many voodoo pins stuck into my face for the month of December.

My next fundraiser, which turned out to be our most successful, was the Black and White Gala Ball at Brothers Sports Club in October.

The night raised more than $10,000 for my surf girl campaign thanks to the tremendous support I had from the Bundaberg business community.

The rest of the year was filled with other events, including a golf day and a very special reunion of the Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club's past entrants and winners.

During the year I also spent a fair bit of time thinking about how I could increase surf safety awareness for our foreign visitors.

I was very excited to this year team up with some of the region's backpacker hostels, to install surf safety posters in multiple languages inside the accommodation facilities to further educate travellers about the dangers of the ocean and the importance of swimming between the flags.

Before I knew it, the year was very swiftly coming to an end and it was time for me to head down to the Gold Coast for a week of final judging.

It was there I got to reconnect with the 23 other surf girls who would become my family for the week.

Together we braced miserable, freezing cold conditions at Kurrawa for a day of water assessment and CPR demonstrations, but we did it with many laughs and a positive attitude.

Each of them had their own unique personalities and I can honestly say I've never laughed so much in one week in my life.

The week of judging concluded with the gala ball on May 17.

It wasn't until I was standing on stage with host, Georgie Lewis from Channel 10, in front of hundreds of people did it dawn on me how lucky I was to have been involved in this year's Surf Girl program and been given the opportunity to represent my community.

While I did not win the sash or take home the title, I feel like I have won in so many other ways.

Bundaberg, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Thank you for your unwavering support during the past 12 months.

I feel very fortunate and proud to call Bundaberg my home.




No jail for league player who punched man

ASSAULT: The impact of the punch broke the victim's left front tooth and caused a puncture wound to his lip.

Nine-month community correction order for CBD assault

Jail drug smuggler caught with five bags of pot

BACK IN COURT: Brooke Marie Glasson was found in possession of marijuana two months after pleading guilty to supplying a dangerous drug at the Maryborough Correctional Centre.

Second chance to stay out of jail

Symbols of love against the law in North Bundaberg

LOVE: North Bundaberg.

Have you seen love singnals in Bundaberg?

Latest deals and offers

What's on the big screen this week

Toby Kebbell and Jack Huston in a scene from the movie Ben-Hur.

AN OLD classic returns to the big screen with a new young star.

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

Zumbo's Just Desserts serves up magical dishes

Gigi Falanga, left, joins hosts Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo on the TV series Zumbo's Just Desserts.

ADRIANO Zumbo’s decadent creations have become prime-time viewing.

Sir Cliff Richard feels 'best' after sex abuse allegations

Sir Cliff Richard is 'back' to his best after sex abuse claims

Blac Chyna sued after car injured 2 women

Blac Chyna is being sued after her friend crashed into another car

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.