Grafton tennis' shining lights
By CHRISTINE FUSSELL
GRAFTON tennis stalwarts Michael Beckman and Kelly Blanch head the seedings for this weekend's North Coast Tennis Championships.
The prestigious Tennis NSW-sanctioned championships will be held for the 78th consecutive year at Grafton City and surrounding courts.
This year's tournament has attracted 196 entries across 37 events.
The tournament has 384 scheduled matches, including 184 tomorrow.
Titleholder Michael Beckman, attempting to win his seventh title, is the men's No.1 seed.
He will meet strong opposition from Lismore's Brendan Moore, the No.2 seed, and his brother Philip, seeded No.3.
Kelly Blanch, a six-time winner of the event and runner-up last year, is the No.1 seed in the women's with the No.2 seed being Lismore's Sarah Wray.
The plans for the twin-faced clock would incorporate two large sails and significant references to Yamba's history, including an acknowledgement of the area as being the original home of the Yaegl people.
Mr Johnson also hoped the slogan 'relax and unwind' would be tagged on the clock, a reference he finds particularly apt for the town he retired to three years ago.
"I feel like I live in heaven and didn't have to die to get here," he said.
Mr Johnson claims to have received mainly positive feed- back from the Yamba traders who have seen the plans and on Monday was given an even bigger reason to smile when the Yamba Chamber of Commerce unanimously voted to approve the idea at its annual general meeting.
Given confidence by the chamber's backing, Mr Johnson said he planned to submit a development application to council for the clock today.
And while he expected some opposition to the clock plan, Mr Johnson believed it was a forward thinking idea for a town in the grip of change.
"Every now and again I here concerns from people worried that Yamba will become like Noosa one day, well that's just not going to happen," he said.
"Yamba's got soul, it's got heart, it has a healthy, wonderful feel to it.
"Some don't want to see change at all but Yamba will change, it will continue to grow, but we just have to make sure that any change is for the good of the town."
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