French chef fills roll of Cobar's Australia Day ambassador

FRENCH celebrity chef David Bitton has been parachuted in to fill the role of Australia Day ambassador in Cobar after former Australian Rugby Union coach Bob Dwyer suffered a heart attack while at Bowral Hospital three weeks ago.

Dwyer, 72, is now recovering at home, but is expected to undergo surgery in March.

The former test coach who led the Wallabies to their historic 1991 World Cup win over England was taken to hospital a day before the attack, suffering chest pains.

Dwyer told the Sydney Morning Herald: "I'm doing well. I feel fine."

"They gave me an electrical charge straight away and I came straight back... talk about being at the right place at the right time. If it had have happened at home, I would be dead," Dwyer said.

Bitton, the rugby union stalwart's replacement, arrived in Australia on ANZAC Day 1991 and has since become the author of several best-selling books and has opened a chain of gourmet cafes and a range of fine foods now sold in more than 400 outlets across Australia.

A spokesperson for Bitton said the chef was "looking forward to Australia Day celebrations" and was honoured to have been invited to take part in the festivities.

Australia Day activities get under way in Cobar from 7am starting with a charity golf match and the running of the senior triathlon, while the junior triathlon gets started at 9am.

There is also a array of events from the great duck race, starting at the Cobar Memorial Swimming Pool at 10.30am.

The Australia Day Awards will be announced at 11.30am followed by a host of events, which will culminate with a charity poker tournament and twilight bowls at the Cobar Bowling and Golf Club.

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