Andrew’s top accolade

Andrew Bedggood with his Rotary Shine On award. Photos: Contributed

Andrew Bedggood received the most prestigious award at the recent Victorian Rotary Shine On Presentation Night.

Mr Bedggood, his wife Lol and members of the Rotary Club of Maffra were in Melbourne for the night of nights.

Shine On recognises outstanding community service by people with disabilities, who, by their actions, serve as ‘Shining Examples’ in their community.

Nominees from all over Victoria receive a Certificate of Commendation and one is chosen to receive a Higher Recognition Trophy.

Following his nomination for an award by the Rotary Club of Maffra, Mr Bedggood was awarded the Shine On Recognition Trophy 2021 for Community Service.

Mr Bedggood told the Gippsland Times he was “gobsmacked” to receive the award.

“I thought everyone who went up was better than me. I suppose I underestimated myself. It was a bit of a shock,” Mr Bedggood said.

“It was quite an honour to be in a room with all those people.”

As a result of a car accident in 1983, Mr Bedggood suffered severe head injuries, a crushed left leg and an amputated right leg.

In spite of this he continued to achieve a high level of expertise in a range of sporting activities as well as engaging in motivational public speaking.

He ran with the 2000 Olympic torch, and has participated in scuba diving, archery, basketball, cycling and kayaking among others.

Mr Bedggood founded the Sale to Sea Disability Kayak Challenge, inspiring able and disabled people alike to challenge themselves, conquer fears and push boundaries, while paddling from Sale to Lakes Entrance.

The program also supported those in the local community who were affected by permanent or long-term disability as the funds raised went to assist many with the basics to make their lives easier.

Mr Bedggood continues to work as an advocate for people with disabilities, assisting them to return to work after an injury as well as being able to empathise with them from his own experiences.

“This award I received shows that despite having a disability, you can still get out and live a normal life,” he said.

“Four years ago I was swimming with great white sharks in Port Lincoln in South Australia. It’s important to encourage people with disabilities to go out and live their life and participate in sporting activities.”

Mr Bedggood has been a past Wellington Shire Citizen of the Year and recipient of the Pride of Australia Award for Courage.

Andrew Bedggood with his award. Photo: contributed