• Isaac Peel, our favourite inclusive at the awards with Jim McGrath, Monique Thomson, Suzanne Bain-Donohue and the Chief Minister's Inclusion Award winner Craig Wallace in front

    Isaac Peel, our favourite inclusive at the awards with Jim McGrath, Monique Thomson, Suzanne Bain-Donohue and the Chief Minister's Inclusion Award winner Craig Wallace in front

  • Nipuni Wijewickrema and Gayana Wijewickrema

    Nipuni Wijewickrema and Gayana Wijewickrema

  • Craig Wallace, Simon Corbell, Diane Hamer and Gay Barton

    Craig Wallace, Simon Corbell, Diane Hamer and Gay Barton

  • Rohan Brooks, Rory Burnside, Josh Hogan, Sam Beke and Josh Kane who are Rudely Interrupted......

    Rohan Brooks, Rory Burnside, Josh Hogan, Sam Beke and Josh Kane who are Rudely Interrupted......

  • Ben Drysdale, Cara Matthews and Meredyth Pettit

    Ben Drysdale, Cara Matthews and Meredyth Pettit

  • Isla Smith, Deb Quinnell and Rebecca Jones

    Isla Smith, Deb Quinnell and Rebecca Jones

  • Wendy Matthews and Denis Dickinson with Sheree Henley

    Wendy Matthews and Denis Dickinson with Sheree Henley

  • Isaac Peel and his mum Sheree Henley with behind Teaghan Smith

    Isaac Peel and his mum Sheree Henley with behind Teaghan Smith

  • Craig Wallace, Cara Matthews, Meredyth Pettit, Tim Ferguson and Ben Drysdale

    Craig Wallace, Cara Matthews, Meredyth Pettit, Tim Ferguson and Ben Drysdale

  • Deb Quinnell with Roy and Susan Daniell

    Deb Quinnell with Roy and Susan Daniell

  • The brand new Chief Minister Andrew Barr made a quick appearance at his Inclusion Awards.

    The brand new Chief Minister Andrew Barr made a quick appearance at his Inclusion Awards.

  • MC Tim Ferguson

    MC Tim Ferguson

  • Robyn Higgins and Ann McMahon

    Robyn Higgins and Ann McMahon

  • Simon Corbell and his wife Eiren Black

    Simon Corbell and his wife Eiren Black

  • Harriet Elvin and Cindy Young of the ACT Inclusion Council

    Harriet Elvin and Cindy Young of the ACT Inclusion Council

  • Tony Haley, Deb and Steve Conroy, Lyndall Thelmann, Dennis Ogden and in front Scott Ashpole

    Tony Haley, Deb and Steve Conroy, Lyndall Thelmann, Dennis Ogden and in front Scott Ashpole

  • Joanne Basha, Inclusion Awards Guest Speaker Nathan Basha and Rhiannon Brodie

    Joanne Basha, Inclusion Awards Guest Speaker Nathan Basha and Rhiannon Brodie

  • Serena Fernandez, Wilma Stevens, Leigh Richmond, Gail Johnson and Donna Rowbotham

    Serena Fernandez, Wilma Stevens, Leigh Richmond, Gail Johnson and Donna Rowbotham

  • On the Parliament House Giving Tree, front and centre.

    On the Parliament House Giving Tree, front and centre.

  • David Luck and Juan de la Torre

    David Luck and Juan de la Torre

  • Faye Jackson, Di Taylor and Deb Hogg

    Faye Jackson, Di Taylor and Deb Hogg

  • Victor and Dijana Furlan

    Victor and Dijana Furlan

  • Judy Dickinson Liz Nair and Rhonda Fuzzard

    Judy Dickinson Liz Nair and Rhonda Fuzzard

  • Ella Torre, Bruno Cerillo, Chris Fowler and Solomon Gomez

    Ella Torre, Bruno Cerillo, Chris Fowler and Solomon Gomez

  • Ben Lane and his golden girl in training Sandy.

    Ben Lane and his golden girl in training Sandy.

  • Ronny Lawrence, his mum Mirinda Lawrence with Sandy

    Ronny Lawrence, his mum Mirinda Lawrence with Sandy

  • James Roe, Charlotte Cacciotto and Pip Roe

    James Roe, Charlotte Cacciotto and Pip Roe

  • Rudely Interrupted....

    Rudely Interrupted....

Chief Minister's Inclusion Awards 2014

11 December 2014

The ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards emerged from a week of turmoil on a couple of fronts to once again be the most heartwarming and exceptional celebration of inclusion across a wide ranging degree of abilities we call disabilities.
The sudden death of Stella Young was difficult to cope with for all involved with these awards as Stella has been the inspirational MC for the last two years with this year to be her third gig. She was excited, we were too but it was not to be. Paul Donohue, BDW Special Events Director, spoke of the Stella he’s known and loved and a delicious story from last year when Stella decided it was a lovely day for a ‘walk’ and set off from Hotel Hotel in Acton for Parliament House for rehearsals. The wind beneath her wings was a bit unkind as it blew her teeny tiny dress up and around, her hair every which way, the distance was greater than she’d calculated and her trusty wheelchair was probably in need of a grease and oil change by the time she arrived. But she did and laughed herself silly in the telling.
 To fill her teeny tiny shoes, one call to Tim Ferguson and the show was back on track. Then the Chief Minister resigned to contest the soon to be vacant senate seat. Andrew Barr was elected CM and confirmed he’d be there. He was; he spoke of his commitment to the awards and tried to scurry off to form his government but I corralled him into a Christmas photo in the foyer.
What a preamble that all was, but it went to plan from there. Well almost; the other distraction that became the centrifugal force of these awards was Isaac, who we watched, smiled and acknowledged as the epitome of inclusion as he wandered his domain, watched everyone and kept his magnificent mother and minders busy all night. It is my favourite photo of the event where Isaac is in his world as the awarded display their awards. And those awards are many and varied going to all manner of worthy recipients that join a growing list of includers in this city all working to make lives better for all deemed disabled. I enjoyed the company of the boys in the band, Rudely Interrupted, whose Rock and Roll was a refreshing blast into a sombre beginning for a big finish and fell in love with Sandy the golden girl, a Labrador on her first big night out as her ‘wrangler’ Ben Lane and soon to be owner Ronny Lawrence continued her Assistance Dog training. Congratulations to Craig Wallace as the recipient of the Chief  Minister’s Inclusion Award.
And to those who advise for gong recipients in other spheres, Sheree Henley, the effervescent and energetic mother of Isaac is most worthy!