Doug's excited about Jacaranda Festival honour
By EMMA CORNFORD
THE guest of honour at this year's Jacaranda Festival will be the former 'voice' of Jacaranda, Doug Barnier.
Although Mr Barnier was diagnosed with aggressive brain and lung tumours in June this year, he said being guest of honour had given him a goal to work towards.
"I was actually asked by (former Jacaranda Committee president) June Allen two weeks before I was diagnosed ... and when all that happened I didn't know what to do, but June said it was totally my decision," he said.
"In the end I just thought 'blow it' and it's given me a real target. So here I am and I'm looking forward to it."
Mr Barnier was awarded a life membership of the Jacaranda committee at last year's festival after years of involvement with the festival, including 17 years of compering the Queen crowning ceremony.
"Being diagnosed did make me think twice about taking the guest of honour position and not making a fool of myself ... but I've been down to a herbalist in Sydney and I feel really strong and really good about it now," he said.
"I just love Jacaranda, so to be involved again is something I'm really looking forward to."
Aside from his Jacaranda contributions, Mr Barnier has been a committed Rotarian, involved with the Clarence River Jockey Club for 22 years and has also been a keen sportsman and follower of sports in the Valley.
Mr Barnier said his family was 'stoked' about his selection as guest of honour.
"Any negative thoughts I've had, they've all said 'come on you can do it'. They've been over the moon about it."
Mr Barnier's duties will include opening the festival at the Jacaranda Ball and crowning the Jacaranda Queen.