Clockwise from top left Coffs Harbour Australia Day award nominees Beth Rogers, Michael Bourne, John Lardner, Rosie Smart, John Higgins and Julie Ferguson.
Clockwise from top left Coffs Harbour Australia Day award nominees Beth Rogers, Michael Bourne, John Lardner, Rosie Smart, John Higgins and Julie Ferguson.

AUSTRALIA DAY: Here are your local champions for 2021

They are the glue that holds the community together and this year's crop of nominees for Australia Day honours is as important as ever.

Whether they are helping, inspiring or teaching others, each one of Coffs Harbour's seven nominees has a unique story and over the next week The Coffs Coast Advocate will be profiling each one of them.

Michael Bourne - In the last few years Michael Bourne has saved several tourists from drowning, participated in charity swims and supported Coffee4Blokes, a charity which supports men with anxiety, depression and loneliness.

READ MORE: 'I hit rock bottom': Surf hero's inspiring road to recovery

John Higgins - He may not be the classic green-thumb, but John Higgins' passion for building and growing the South Coffs Community Gardens is undeniable and has helped build a magical space and thriving gardening community.

Julie Ferguson - Determined to fight food waste, Julie Ferguson and her team at OzHarvest Coffs Harbour has managed to rescue an incredible 1.2 million tonnes of food and delivered 230,000 free meals in the process.

John Lardner - Leading a team of volunteer firefighters who worked tirelessly to protect homes in the Orara Valley, captain of the Nana Glen Rural Fire Service Brigade, John Lardner, has not stopped helping the community.

Taryn McCarthy - Woolgoolga High School graduate Taryn McCarthy was in the thick of it last year, finding the time to be a prefect, tutor, mentor and charity fundraiser - all while completing her HSC.

Elizabeth Rogers - Supporting former refugees who have settled in Coffs Harbour, the impact Beth Rogers has had on people in the community is immeasurable and meeting Beth was described by one person as "like winning a lotto".

Rosie Smart - Sawtell has a talented and dedicated young surfer in Rosie Smart and she managed to make 2020 her own by overcoming a lack of competitions to take out two of the handful of events she competed in.