The winners of the 2012 Pride of Australia National Medal were announced at an
emotional and inspiring event in Sydney.
Teenage brothers Daniel and William Clarke, who have raised over $650,000 towards saving the habitat of the orang-utan in Borneo and Sumatra, received thunderous applause when they were announced as the winners of the national Environment medal and the People's Choice Award brought to you by Toyota Camry and Aurion.
Daniel, who has cerebral palsy and was inspired by Steve Irwin, says the pair will now continue towards their goal of raising one million dollars. The audience at the ceremony - which honours everyday people who do extraordinary things – was left in no doubt they will.
Another audience favourite was Georgina Kenaghan, winner of the Inspiration national medal. Georgina was presented with her award by Jenny Blow, one of the vision-impaired athletes she coached at the London Paralympics.
The family of Michael Wilson - a paramedic who was killed rescuing a canyoner earlier this year – was on hand to accept the National Heroism Medal and received a standing ovation. His wife Kellie said, "I am deeply, deeply touched by this honour - and I know that Michael would be too."
More than 190 people joined the celebrations at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel, including News Limited Group Director of Editorial Campbell Reid, Network Ten's Head of News and Current Affairs Anthony Flannery, and Toyota’s executive director of sales and marketing, Matthew Callachor.
The finalists were gathered from News Limited's network of metropolitan, regional
and community newspapers throughout the year. They were nominated by friends,
family and colleagues who believed they deserved national recognition for their
outstanding achievements. The event was hosted by Network Ten's Sandra Sully and broadcast on ONE.
Highlights of the evening included a live performance from Australian singer
Katie Noonan. Sandra Sully congratulated the winners whom she described as "remarkable people". "We are here to recognise the brave, the selfless, the generous, the compassionate and the courageous in our society," she said. "What you might call Australia's finest."
The winners were each awarded a unique gold Pride of Australia gold medal while the
Clarke brothers also won $10,000 from People's Choice Award sponsors Toyota, who also donated another $10,000 to the brother's chosen charity – The Orang-utan Project Safeguard Program.
To read about all of these amazing medallists, please click here.