Steph Cooke

Australia Day Ambassadors

Written by: The Hilltops Phoenix

Australia Day

Australia Day

Boorowa will receive a visit from Greg Donovan, motivational speaker and founder of Born to Run.

In 2008, Mr Donovan’s then 14-year-old son, Stephen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and Coeliac disease at the same time, which devastated the whole family.

Mr Donovan dedicated himself to doing something to raise funds to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes and, with his experience in running and fundraising, he founded the Born to Run Foundation to achieve this goal in 2012. He assembled a five-person running team dubbed Team Born to Run, including him and his oldest brother, Matthew.

The team tackled the gruelling four deserts running series, which involves running 250km across four of the most forbidding deserts in the world, with the series finishing in Antarctica.

The 4 Deserts series was rated by Time Magazine alongside Tour de France and Daker Rally as one of the top 10 most challenging endurance events on the planet.

Only 11 people have managed to achieve the feat, and the five-person Born to Run team was the first to complete the 4 Desert Grand Slam, and also contains both the youngest and oldest person to achieve the feat as well as the first father and son, the first couple and the first Type 1 diabetic.

Mr Donovan said that he hoped by literally going to all ends of the earth to bring awareness and raise funds he could inspire others to do more to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Realising the life-changing effects of running 250km across deserts, Mr Donovan has introduced this form of running sport to Australia by establishing the Big Red Run, an annual week-long running event based out of Birdsville in the Simpson Desert, allowing Australians the ability to enjoy this unique experience and raise funds for Type 1 diabetes research, as well as drawing people in from around the world to enjoy the Australian outback.

In July 2013, Mr Donovan ran 250km in the inaugural event with his son, Stephen and they raised over $160,000 for research. After six years, it has raised over $1.1 million for JDRF. Since then, Mr Donovan founded the ANZAC Day Challenge in 2015, a 100km trail running event that raised over $120,000 for Soldier On and Mates 4 Mates in its first year.

He also founded Australia’s most remote music festival, the Birdsville Big Red Bash, which in 2018 headlined by John Farnham, saw over 9,000 people rocking the Simpson Desert, generating over $11 million in tourism benefits for the many small outback towns surrounding the festival. Harden will welcome Promilla Gupta OAM as its Australia Day Ambassador for 2024. Ms Gupta won the Premier’s 2018 Multicultural Regional Community Medal Winner. She is a chef specialising in vegetarian food.

Ms Gupta is also the author of two cooking books, a cooking editor for Indian Newspaper, a community radio presenter, an events anchor, a tutor at WEA, a tour leader to India and runs her own business called Promilla’s Kitchen.

She has won numerous awards, including “SA Pride of Australia 2006”, “SA Senior Citizen of the Year 2007”, finalist of Irene Krastev awards 2007, winner of Indian Cultural Awards 2009 and winner of NSW Premiers Communities Awards 2018.

Ms Gupta was also awarded OAM in 2020.

Some of her achievements include:

  • Ambassador for Education Adelaide in 2011 for International students;
  • Ambassador for Oz Asia Festival in 2011. Oz Asia is the largest festival held in South Australia;
  • Teamed up with the Salvation Army and volunteered to cook for about 120 homeless people once per month;
  • Producer and actor of a short film, Five Spices on multiculturalism;
  • Ran a Hindi language school;
  • Radio presenter - E.B.1. 103.1 FM Hindi; and
  • Cooking editor of the newspaper The Indian Down Under.

Ms Gupta’s main focus is now on mentoring and advisory roles. She will also visit Wombat for their afternoon Awards Ceremony at Wagenbah Oval.

Peter Cousens AM will visit Young as the Australia Day Ambassador.

He is the artistic director of the Talent Development Project and was appointed in 2019 as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to the performing arts and the community.

Mr Cousens graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art and has played the role of The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera on London’s West End for 11 months.

He has also had an extensive career playing major roles in plays and musicals throughout Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

His musical theatre roles include over 1500 performances as Marius in Les Miserables and 2000 as Raoul in the Australian production of The Phantom Of The Opera and over 500 performances as Chris in Miss Saigon, for which he won the Variety Heart Award for Best Performer.

Mr Cousens has recorded five albums, directed the feature film Freedom and so much more. The Australia Day celebrations will include the opportunity to meet and greet Mr Cousens in person.

Patterson Brothers Funerals

Stay Connected


    Get in Contact

Hilltops News to your inbox

Sign up now for the latest news from the Hilltops Area direct to your inbox.

Steph Cooke