When Merran Thurley picked up a dragon boat paddle 10 years ago, she had no idea what a difference it would make to her life and for others.
She was recovering from breast cancer when she first started dragon boat racing.
The Dragons Abreast Club president was “quite chuffed” to be recognised alongside the North Esk Rowing Club and North Esk Dragon Boat Club at the Tasmanian Human Rights Awards.
The three clubs won the Robin Hood AM Sport Award for their commitment to providing an inclusive environment for all athletes no matter their personal circumstances or physical abilities.
Ms Thurley aimed to make dragon boat racing as friendly to people of all abilities and make it an enjoyable experience.
While her guide dog Ida usually did not leave her side, Ms Thurley said Ida would be more interested in what was in the water if she tagged along.
Two other Northern Tasmania nominees won their category at the awards, which were celebrated in a ceremony on December 8 at Launceston’s Town Hall.
Speak Out Association of Tasmania won the Organisation Award for its commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of people with intellectual disability and for the development of a dual governance structure ensuring people with disability were active in the organisation.
Former Examiner journalist Piia Wirsu won the Angus Downie Print Journalism Award for her illuminating work Multicultural Faces of Tasmania, which explored the experiences of migration and seeking asylum in Tasmania.
Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sarah Bolt said more than 30 nominations for individuals and organisations were received again this year. “Each and every one of them has made a significant contribution to the promotion of diversity and the recognition of human rights.”
The awards aimed to celebrate individuals and organisations which addressed issues faced by people with disabilities, migrants, refugees and people subjected to discrimination.