14 - Richie Williamson
14 - Richie Williamson Caitlan Charles

POWER 30: Clarence Valley's Most Influential 11-14

14. RICHIE WILLIAMSON

There's no question that Richie Williamson has a presence around the Clarence. When you aren't listening to his familiar voice on breakfast radio, you are likely to encounter him in Grafton's main street where more times than not, he's in conversation with someone who has stopped him for a chat.

That kind of rapport with people is why he's a popularly elected councillor and former mayor of some eight years the number of openings he had officiated over the years, not worth trying to estimate.

Richie's affable nature, interest in government and love of his community is a combination that saw him have a (unsuccessful) tilt as an independent at state politics a few years ago, which gives you the impression there's more where that came from.

As mayor Richie saw council through the difficult transformational years of amalgamation providing the high profile thread that pulled the process together.

Heavily involved in his community, the avid cricketer and unofficial mayor of Coutts Crossing is the longest serving councillor on the current team that often lean heavily on his experience and influence.

13. AVERY BROWN

NOT many people exemplify the phrase 'knowledge is power' in the same way Avery Brown did in his 28-year career with the Aboriginal Legal Service.

When he retired from the ALS earlier this year, he fielded calls from around the state from colleagues wondering how the service could replace his knowledge and experience.

Avery set the bar high when he first joined in the early 1980s to be a liaison between his people and the legal system.

Strictly old school in his approach to the job, Avery's strength was making sure he followed through on every avenue available for his clients.

His retirement has not spelt the end of his involvement with both his people and the wider community, as he has been able to step up his involvement with the New School of Arts in South Grafton.

12. DR ALLAN TYSON

IN APRIL 2013, Dr Allan Tyson was due to take centre stage for the opening of a section of the redevelopment of Grafton Base Hospital.

He made it, but not before he was called away to help deliver a baby. In a nutshell, that captures Allan's role at the hospital in the 20-plus years he has worked there.

He's been a relentless lobbyist for medical services for the region, whether it's through carefully cultivated political contacts or his presence on bodies like the Area Health Board and the Staff Medical Council.

His work as an anaesthetist and emergency doctor also brings home the shortcomings of medical services in rural areas, inspiring him to fight harder for improvements.

A grateful community rewarded his work by naming him the Jacaranda Festival Guest of Honour in 2013.

 

11. HARRY SINGH

HARRY Singh is a true enigma as we count down the 30 most influential people in the Clarence Valley.

He wields immense influence in the town where he and his family have enjoyed a rags to riches rise but he plays his cards close to his chest.

Older Graftonians remember Harry and his brothers selling apples and other fruit door to door as youngsters as the family established its business in town.

He has established a reputation for being a tough but fair businessman, who sticks his guns when managing an extensive property portfolio that takes in a large section of the Grafton CBD.

Although his interests extend outside the Jacaranda City, he maintains a strong interest in the city and has big visions for what he might do with his interests in the future.



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