Hearts of Valour

Have a holiday in the national capital of Australia! I recently had the pleasure of joining with hundreds of Canberrans to attend a unique and very special Valentine's evening—the Hearts of Valour fundraiser, which raised $100,000 for the Heart Foundation.

The event was unique and very special because all five Cross of Valour recipients were joined by all four living Victoria Cross recipients and Australia's only living George Cross recipient for the first time ever. Once on stage they were joined by Doug Baird, the father of Cameron Baird VC MG, who was killed in action in Afghanistan.

That morning the Cross of Valour recipients officially opened the Lifeline book fair and donated signed copies of the autobiography of Al Sparke CV, The Cost of Bravery, which deals with his battle with depression.

They also attended the Canberra Capitals match on Friday afternoon, and the Capitals wore an exclusive Cross of Valour singlet that listed the names of all five Cross of Valour recipients.

Significant military medal sets were donated to the Australian War Memorial and presented to the Royal Australian Mint to enable the mint to use them as the foundation to display Australian civilian medals and awards in the future. The five Cross of Valour recipients and the George Cross recipient also launched a new Australian bravery coin.

This event would not have been possible without the vision and tireless support of Richard and Debbie Rolfe, and I thank them. I also thank the Heart Foundation's Tony Stubbs, Ann Ronning, Sally Coyle and all the volunteers who worked to make the event such as a success.

Download a copy of this speech.

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