A vet who spent 53 days dragging a pink “boobsled” across the Antarctic to raise funds for breast cancer has been named Gold Coast Citizen of the Year.
Dr Geoff Wilson took out the honour in the City of Gold Coast Australia Day Awards, announced by Mayor Tom Tate at a breakfast ceremony today.
Young Citizen of the Year is 2014 high school graduate Tani Stubbs, who raised more than $1 million worth of supplies for schools in Tonga and helped refurbish a hospital after a cyclone.
Raylee Taylor won the Gold FM Community Service Award for 19 years of volunteer work in the area of suicide prevention and support for the bereaved.
Marathon runner Michael Shelley secured the Sports Achievement Award following his gold medal winning performance at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Alan Donaldson won the Environmental Achievement Award for his contribution to the community in promoting and inspiring the use of regional flora in the Gold Coast’s environment, mainly through his volunteer work with the Friends of Regional Botanic Gardens.
Arts patron Barbara Corrigan collected the Cultural Achievement Award for her far-reaching support of new artists, cultural groups and arts development. She is the voluntary Events Coordinator of the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society (ADFAS), with profits from arts-related events donated to cultural groups.
Mayor Tom Tate thanked the community for the large number of award entries and congratulated the winners.
“The calibre of entries was outstanding and choosing the winners was certainly a challenging process,” he said.
“These six Gold Coasters are truly worthy winners and their contribution to our city – and in some instances to the world – has clearly made a difference to many peoples’ lives.”
More details on the winners below.
Gold Coast Citizen of the Year – Geoff Wilson
In January 2014, veterinarian Dr Geoff Wilson became the first Australian to complete a solo, unsupported Antarctic crossing. Dragging a pink “boobsled” across the ice for 53 days, Geoff raised more than $250,000 for funds for the McGrath Foundation and breast cancer research.
Dr Wilson travelled in excess of one-and-a-half marathons every day and broke the 17 year old record by 11 days. He suffered loss of feeling in his fingers and toes, frost bite to his stomach, frost nip to his face, peeling skin, bleeding lips, an injured left knee and lost 18kg.
Gold Coast Young Citizen of the Year – Tani Stubbs
Tani Stubbs raised more than $1 million worth of supplies for schools in Tonga and helped refurbish a hospital after a cyclone. Last year Tani visited Tonga, where she initiated a number of projects including ‘Clean up Tonga’, a learn-to-swim program, the construction of the first wheelchair accessible school and established a sister school relationship with Tupou High School. Whilst in Tonga, she met the Royal family, addressed students at eight schools and did a number of media interviews. Tani graduated from All Saints Anglican School last year and has been volunteering for a range of community groups since the age of 12.
Gold FM Community Service Award – Raylee Taylor
Raylee is the face of suicide prevention on the Gold Coast. The Vice Chair of the Gold Coast Suicide Prevention Network, her dedication and motivation has in effect saved the lives of many people who have contemplated suicide. She has turned personal tragedy – the loss of her 19 year old son by suicide, as well as the loss of her brother – into a lifelong commitment of raising awareness of suicide prevention.
Over the past 19 years, Raylee Taylor has volunteered her time to suicide prevention and supporting the bereaved. Her aim is to educate the community to assist in preventing people taking their own life.
Sports Achievement Award – Michael Shelley
Marathon runner Michael Shelley won gold at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, following on from his surprise silver medal four years prior at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Michael became the first non-African winner of this event since fellow Australian and the team Chef de Mission in Glasgow, Steve Moneghetti, won gold in Victoria, Canada in 1994. Michael completed the marathon in a new personal best time of 2:11:15.
Environmental Achievement Award – Alan Donaldson
Alan Donaldson has made an outstanding contribution to the community in promoting and inspiring the use of regional flora in the Gold Coast environment, through his volunteer work with the Friends of Regional Botanic Gardens (Friends), the Gold Coast and Hinterland Historic Society and Burleigh Golf Club.
Alan was instrumental in establishing the nursery at the botanic gardens, where he trains and coordinates volunteers to propagate, grow and care for a wide variety of plants. Alan has been a Friends’ representative on a number of peak gardening bodies and is very active in promoting the gardens through numerous presentations in Australia and overseas.
Alan is also Group Coordinator for the Australian Plants Group of the Gold Coast and Hinterland Historic Society. A significant project involved the constitution and care for native gardens using regional species within remnant sand dunes from 2003-2013. This project involved original design, construction and weekly maintenance and due to its high quality it was part of the Australian Open Garden Scheme.
Cultural Achievement Award – Barbara Corrigan
Barbara Corrigan is the voluntary Events Coordinator of the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society (ADFAS). Barbara has organised many culturally stimulating excursions to art galleries and live theatre performances, with all profits being donated to cultural groups. Some of these donations have led to the purchase of acquisitions for the Gold Coast City Gallery and ADFAS Young Arts Projects.
Barbara generously supports emerging artists and promotes their careers by buying works and publicising them to networks of friends and acquaintances. Through Barbara’s work, many people have gained an interest in the art and culture scene and have demonstrated this through their generous support of arts development projects.