This morning we celebrated our 30th year applauding the amazing achievements of people with Down Syndrome in the greater Wellington region.
This year we were exceptionally fortunate to have the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield presenting the Frances Clarke Memorial Awards (FCMA).
As always the WDSA committee put in some hard graft to coordinate the event so we were really happy that Covid-19 didn’t stop this from taking place. In order to hold the event we did need to limit to 100 attendees.
There is always something special about having the FCMA at Government House. We are so grateful for the Governor General (Her Excellency the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy) for her ongoing patronage of WDSA.
About our Awards Ceremony
Her Excellency Dame Patsy Reddy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne were announced and welcomed us. Charlotte Gendall was our MC again this year. She did a great job at tying the morning together and making sure everything went smoothly.
Hinerangi Collins-Mohi gave a lovely Karakia, we were very pleased she could return this year after winning an award in 2019.
After this Dr Ashley Bloomfield gave an encouraging speech about Covid-19 and the Team of 5 million. He encouraged us to think about the positives such as family time playing boardgames and hearing native birds.
Ava Saba was our 8-16 year old recipient from Masterton. We learnt about her varied and considerable range of dance and performing arts. We learnt how Ava truly becomes the music and dances like no one is watching. It was lovely to have her then speak after receiving her award.
Michael Holdsworth was our over 16-year-old recipient. He first won the 8-16 year old category 30 years ago when the awards started. There have been six different Governor-Generals since then and we learnt about his significant contribution to FCMA (playing piano 29 of the 30 years). Michael is the longest-serving staff member in the IHC Library, where he has worked for the past 26 years.
Gordon Cumming received and Outstanding Contribution award for his support of the Independence Collective (a fantastic group of young people from the Kāpiti Coast with special needs). Gordon is someone who thinks outside the box, and never puts limits on what individuals are able to achieve. He demonstrated this by supporting the Independence Collective to setup Change Maker Beer. They are paving the way for other individuals with disabilities to start their own collective and follow this business model all over the country.
Finally, Heidi Jones presented flowers to Her Excellency before we closed the formal part of the ceremony with the National Anthem.
There was a lovely time enjoying high tea together at the end of the ceremony while Michael Holdsworth played the piano. Meanwhile many of our community waited patiently to talk to the esteemed Ashley Bloomfield ask for a selfie.
Thanks to everyone who made the event a success.