The Australia Day Ambassadors for 2016 are Greg Donovan - Founder of Born to Run which raises funds and awareness of Type 1 diabetes, Nicholas Gleeson - adventurer and former Paralympian; and screenwriter and producer Peter Herbert.
The Ambassadors are one aspect of the fantastic program of events including parades, barbecues and the announcement of the Australia Day Awards on Tuesday 26 January 2016.
Greg Donovan – Australia Day Ambassador for Merriwa
Greg has always enjoyed endurance sports and fundraising. In 2008 Greg’s son Stephen, who was 14 at the time, was diagnosed with both Type 1 diabetes and Coeliac disease at the same time and Greg dedicated himself to raising funds to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. In 2012 he founded the Born to Run Foundation as well as putting together a five person running team which included his oldest son Matthew to take on the gruelling four deserts running series, running 250km across the four most forbidding deserts in the world, finishing in Antarctica. Time Magazine rated it as one of the top 10 most challenging endurance events on the planet.
Greg also established the Big Red Run, an annual week long running event based out of Birdsville in the Simpson Desert, which also raises funds for diabetes research. After three years this event has raised close to $600,000 for Type 1 diabetes research.
Greg also founded the Anzac Day Challenge, Sydney’s only 100km Trail Ultra event that in 2015 raised over $120,000 for Soldier On and Mates 4 Mates. He also founded Australia’s most remote music festival the Birdsville Big Red Bash, which in 2015 saw over 3,000 people rocking the Simpson Desert.
Greg has ambitions to continue to build the Born to Run Foundation to not only continue to raise funds and awareness to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes, but also to assist people with diabetes improve their lives and deal with their illness through fitness and exercise.
Nicholas Gleeson - Australia Day Ambassador for Murrurundi
Athlete, accessibility advocate and global adventurer Nick Gleeson delivers a serious message – about overcoming the challenges of living with blindness – with warmth, humour and honesty.
Nick’s life changed at age seven when an electronic door to a supermarket hit him on the side of his head, causing a retinal detachment. He attended a boarding school for children who were blind and was one of the first of his peers to finish Year 12. Nick went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University.
Nick has represented Australia in athletics, racing in America, England and Hong Kong. He also played blind cricket (using an audible ball) for almost 20 seasons, representing Victoria, New South Wales and Australia. His sporting and travel adventures include three times crossing the finish line in the New York City Marathon, carrying the Sydney Olympic Torch, racing up the 1,576 steps of the Empire State Building and completing the gruelling 90km from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in the Comrades Ultra-Marathon.
Nick put together an expedition named Blind Ambition to climb Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. While climbing in New Zealand, Nick had the privilege of telling his hero – Sir Edmund Hillary – of this achievement. In 2009 Nick climbed to six thousand metres on Mount Everest.
Nick describes himself as a very ordinary person who has managed to follow many of his dreams – among them marrying Heather, who is also blind, and raising two children. A highlight of Nick’s year is visiting rural communities as part of his Australia Day Ambassador duties.
Peter Herbert - Australia Day Ambassador for Scone and Aberdeen
Peter is an accomplished writer and producer, with an extensive range of credits in television, stage, event work and film. He has worked on dramas, comedies and live events, from the classics of Crawford Productions - Cop Shop, The Sullivan’s and The Flying Doctors –to comedies as The Comedy Company, Acropolis Now and Dossa and Joe. With the Comedy Company, Peter was part of the writing partnership behind the character, Con the Fruiterer, whose sayings “Coupla Days, Bewdiful, and Roula, Toula Foula, Soula and Agape” became national catchphrases.
Peter also produced The TV Week Logies with Steve Vizard as host, and went on to create the TV event, The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Charity Gala, which has been running for 20 years.
Peter has created original programs and formats, and has successfully sold his own work around the world. International broadcasters include Comedy Central in the US, Paramount Comedy Channel, the BBC, Channel 5 and BSkyB in the UK. He has recently produced a two-part comedy documentary series for SBS about Middle Eastern stand-up comedy and has numerous other projects in development.
Peter also teaches in producing and screen business at the Australian Film Television and Radio School and the University of Sydney.
Upper Hunter Shire Council
Phone: 02 6540 1100
Fax: 02 6545 2671
Upper Hunter Shire Council is a local government authority and provides an extensive array of services including health and building; town planning; aged care; sporting and recreational facilities; roads; libraries; garbage collection; airport facilities; saleyards; public venues; water; children, youth and families and tourist information.