The winner of the Annual Business Awards voter prize, Mallabula mother-of-three Marinda Lilley, has described the windfall as the best Christmas present ever.
Ms Lilley, whose entry at the Pet Shop Medowie was a last minute decision, said the $1000 shopping spree at Salamander Bay Square would be spent on Christmas gifts for her three children – Louis, 11, Will, 4, and 15-month-old Milli.
“I have never won anything in my life, well apart from the odd meat raffle and that’s lucky to be once a year,” an excited Ms Lilley told the Examiner.
“As the kids get older the Christmas gifts get more expensive.
“This money will go a long towards ensuring they get a special Christmas this year.”
Ms Lilley said she learned of her win after switching on her phone early Thursday morning.
“I had been tagged on Facebook by a number of friends asking if I was the Marinda Lilley selected at the awards dinner.
“I couldn’t believe it at first, but then I watched the Facebook livestream and realised it was true.
“It was an awesome feeling.”
Ms Lilley said she had bought some chook feed from the Medowie pet shop and decided to fill in an entry form after being prompted by the store owner.
“It was my one and only entry,” she said.
The Examiner received more than 9000 votes in the 2018 awards.
About 4700 of those votes were done online through the Examiner’s website. The remainder were done using voting forms from the print edition of the Examiner newspaper.
The Examiner offers a voter prize each year.
This year the prize was a $1000 shopping spree to Salamander Bay Square.
The voter prize was selected at random and announced by the emcee for the awards, Ross Melville, Fairfax Media’s marketing and promotions manager Newcastle/Hunter and New England, midway through the proceedings at Shoal Bay Country Club on Wednesday, October 31.
This year the Overall Business of the Year Award went to Yin Yang Consultancy.