Guide Dogs Queensland 2023 Graduation Ceremony
Guide Dogs Queensland President, Mr Richard Anderson OAM and Acting CEO, Mr Jock Beveridge; Members of the Board; staff; donors; volunteers; graduates and your family and friends; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I’m pleased, as Governor and Patron of Guide Dogs Queensland, to be here with you on this special occasion.
The annual graduation ceremony is a moment of celebration and acknowledgment for the remarkable achievements of Queenslanders living with vision loss and blindness.
It’s also a chance to recognise the efforts of all those who have provided help and expertise that is, quite simply, life changing.
And, it coincides with International White Cane Day, an important day in celebration of the independence and freedoms that a white cane and other mobility aids can provide to people with low vision or blindness.
Guide Dogs Queensland is of course synonymous with images of these calm, steady and immensely cute four-legged friends, who ensure their handlers navigate public spaces safely.
However, it's essential to recognise the people behind this incredible organisation, who collectively have ensured ongoing support for individuals with vision loss.
The spectrum of services provided by Guide Dogs Queensland is vast and covers every stage of life, from aiding a baby born with a vision condition to helping someone later in life as their vision changes.
Today we have the privilege of honouring this year’s graduates who have completed rigorous training with a guide dog, an electronic travel aid, or a white cane.
They have worked tirelessly to gain the freedom, confidence, and independence that many of us often take for granted.
Guide Dogs Queensland's journey has been made possible by the generosity of Queenslanders, a tradition that extends back to the days of pounds and continues today.
As we know, much of your funding comes from the community. For every coin placed in a collection dog, every item of merchandise bought at a fundraising stall, and every donation made, countless Queenslanders have received the life-changing gift of a guide dog to be by their side.
Today begins a new chapter in the lives of our fully trained guide dogs, who will undoubtedly keep learning in partnership with their handlers.
It’s a moment of immense pride, not only for those who trained them, but for all who have participated in their journey.
So, as we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates, let us also celebrate the spirit of this remarkable organisation, the dedication of our supporters, and the enduring power of community.
Thank you for being a part of this special day and for making a profound difference in the lives of those who are now ready to face the world with independence and confidence.