BELINDA Harris has two big loves – books and the sea.
The owner of Beach Book Boutique, next to the Airlie Lagoon, has had a passion for the written word since she was a child.
She brought that passion to life with her own book shop, seven years ago, and hasn’t looked back.
She enjoys meeting people from all over the world, who share her love of books and the printed word.
When the Whitsunday News launched, in July 2020, Mrs Harris was quick to become a distributor of the newspaper, believing firmly in the ‘power of print’ and its ability to get a message across.
“I have always loved the weekly community newspaper and was very happy to see it brought back when Whitsunday News launched two years ago,” she said.
However, the Whitsunday News and Beach Book Boutique don’t just share a love of the printed word.
They also both love the sea and marine creatures, especially turtles. Mrs Harris’s shop is full of turtles of all kinds, peaking out between books. And the Whitsunday News has nominated Eco Barge Clean Seas as its chosen charity, in 2022.
Earlier this year, a plan was hatched, whereby 100 per cent of the shop’s income from the newspaper sales is donated to Eco Barge Clean Seas.
This is achieved by Whitsunday News not charging Beach Book Boutique for the newspapers, and then Mrs Harris matches the earnings, dollar for dollar, each month.
Since the scheme started, in January 2022, $500 has been raised for Eco Barge Clean Seas to assist the not-for-profit in its fight against marine debris and their rescue work with sick and injured turtles.
Mrs Harris said it felt great to know she was helping turtles get back into the water.
“Tourists like the fact that when they buy the local paper, they are also helping to maintain our wonderful marine life, which is what a lot of them come to the Whitsundays for,” she said.
Eco Barge Clean Seas Tash Jenner thanked Beach Book Boutique for its contributions, saying anything donated – whether that was cash, volunteering, or goods in kind – helped their cause.
“It allows us to do what we do and that’s clearing our waterways of marine debris, much of which is the cause of the turtles’ injuries in the first place,” Ms Jenner said.
Visit www.ecobargecleanseas.org.au to get involved.