Hail hero Brian

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 07 Juli 2013 | 19.55

BRIAN Gilligan certainly knows what it's like to face challenges in life. And it's this knowledge that allows the teachers' aide to communicate so well with the special needs students he works with at Hobart's Claremont College.

Mr Gilligan, 41, has cerebral palsy and needs a wheelchair.

He was taught at the former D'Alton unit in New Town and also pursued distance learning.

But instead of being a barrier, his own physical challenges have proved to be an asset when it comes to working with children with disabilities.

Mr Gilligan, of Moonah, is only paid for 16 hours a fortnight. But he finds the work so rewarding he volunteers his time to make it a four-day working week.

"I love my role," he said. "I have been here 12 years and while I work across the college I do focus on those students with special needs. They seem to accept me and listen to my advice."

He is restricted to teaching just one subject but works across the board in English, maths, food studies and computing.

Mr Gilligan was recently recognised by being named Tasmanian school volunteer of the year.

Now he has been nominated for a Pride of Australia medal in the Fair Go category.

"Everyone should have the chance to be the best they can be and all students should have the same opportunities," he said.

The Mercury and Sunday Tasmanian are seeking to recognise Tasmanians who inspire, show great courage, carry out acts of bravery or champion the notion of a fair go. Nominations close at 5pm on July 16. And they are still being sought in 10 categories: outstanding bravery, courage, heroism, community spirit (sponsored by Network Ten), child of courage, young leader, care and compassion, inspiration, environment and a fair go.

All Tasmanian category winners will be honoured at a state medal ceremony on September 15. State winners will then be eligible to take home the gold medal in their category at national level in Sydney on November 15.

Nomination forms are printed in the Mercury and Sunday Tasmanian.

Readers can also nominate people and share their story online.

helen.kempton@news.com.au


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