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Auckland Honours Unsung Heroes

News release
October 17, 2005

Auckland Honours Unsung Heroes


Grant Shaman, Aucklander of the Year 2005

Dylan Todd, Young Aucklander of the Year 2005

The respected young Avondale College head boy who died on a school soccer pitch in August has received a special award in the second annual Aucklander of the Year Awards.

Nathan Woolley is one of three winners in the annual Aucklander of the Year and Young Aucklander of the Year awards for 2005.

The winner of the Young Aucklander for 2005 is Dylan Todd from Westmere while the Aucklander of the Year is Grant Sharman of Pukekohe.

The awards are supported by The Aucklander community magazine and have been announced at a presentation ceremony in the Auckland War Memorial Museum tonight (October 17).

Nathan Woolley, who was 17, was nominated for Young Aucklander of the Year by family friend Linda Allen after she “considered the near-3000 people who attended his funeral”.

The judges of the competition added the special award in honour of the First XI captain, rock band drummer and church group leader after the contest rules did not allow for the nomination of someone who had died.

Aucklander of the Year Grant Sharman is a 43-year ‘young’ grandfather who coaches the champion New Zealand wheelchair rugby team the Wheel Blacks.

Wheelchair-bound after a rugby accident as a teenager, he was nominated by his long-time friend Robyn Scott-Vincent who says Grant is an inspiration to many.

“In addition to his Wheel Blacks coaching, Grant teaches a weekly art group he runs with wife Jenny and the local community constable. Grant’s reach stretches throughout the nation in his role as a reporter on the television show Attitude which celebrates people living with disabilities and provides information on to them on a wide range of topics,” Robyn says.

Young Aucklander Dylan Todd has introduced his friend Mathew Bellette to a whole new world of experiences since they met eight years ago according to his nominator Des Bellete. Sixteen-year-old Matthew has Down syndrome and was “pretty lonely before Dylan came onto the scene,” says Des, Matthew’s dad.

Since meeting 15-year-old Dylan, Matthew has been introduced to pastimes such as trolley cart racing, hiking and computer games and his horizons have broadened with several trips to Dylan’s former homeland of South Africa.

“The things Dylan has done for our son are too numerous to list,” Des says. “Most important, our boy has experienced a real friendship – what every parent of a special needs child dreams of, that they be accepted and treated as an equal.”

Each award winner receives a Gold Coast (Australia) holiday for four people including accommodation and airfares worth more than $5,000 and a certificate. Two runners up in each category also receive prizes as do the two people who nominate the award winners.

Judges for the 2005 Aucklander of the Year programme were Dick Hubbard, Michael Jones, Peggy Bourne, Nicky Pellegrino and Kate Hawkesby while the award ambassadors are Bernice Mene and Jude Dobson. Sponsors are The Aucklander community magazine, radio station Classic Hits, Countdown, AUT and Pacific Blue airlines.

NOTE: Nathan Woolley’s parents accepted the certificate for his special Young Aucklander of the Year award at the presentation function in the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Issued for The Aucklander by Pead PR

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