Alex and Myra Arrighi were presented with the Torch-Bearer Award on May 29th, 2017, at a reception hosted by Ballina Mayor David Wright at Ballina Shire Council.
Alex and Myra were being recognised for their contributions to the many community service organisations they helped to form and foster over many years in the Ballina area.
Their early achievements in athletics fit perfectly with the major theme of the Peace Run – Peace through Sport – as they both participated in the 1956 Olympic Trials in Melbourne.
In 1947, Myra joined Western Suburbs Athletic Club in Sydney. She held the NSW record for sub-junior long jump and competed with, and against, athletic greats such as Marlene Mathews, Betty Cuthbert and Fanny Blankers-Koen.
Myra was the initial President of the Richmond River Scottish Society, from which the Ballina Pipe Band was formed. As a mark of respect, the band now wear her family tartan. She has also been a member of the Richmond-Tweed family history society since its inception.
Alex joined Western Suburbs Athletic Club in 1949 and was 2nd in the NSW junior 880 yards. He represented NSW in the Australian Championships in Brisbane in 1952 and finished 3rd in the 440 yards hurdles. Alex was secretary of Wests for 3 years prior to transferring to Brisbane.
He was assistant secretary of Queensland Athletic Association and a member of the organising committee for the 1956 Olympic Torch Relay from Nambour to Tweed Heads. He carried the Olympic Torch in Brisbane. He was also President of Mayne Harriers Athletic Club.
Alex and Myra moved to Ballina in 1968 where they took over the Ballina Newsagency. In the seventies, they opened the East Ballina Newsagency and pioneered newspaper deliveries in that area.
Alex was a member of Ballina Rotary Club and became Charter President of the Ballina-on-Richmond Rotary Club. He received the Paul Harris Fellowship Award for services to Rotary.
In Sydney, in 1952, he played first grade Rugby Union for Parramatta and, on moving to Ballina, became the Inaugural President of Ballina Rugby Club, a position he held for 10 years. During that time, he was President of Far North Coast Rugby for 2 years.
In 2000, Alex was awarded the Australian Sports Award and in that same year, carried the Olympic Torch at Broadwater near Ballina.