Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt today officially opened the 12km Great Pyramid Race and presented community service awards in recognition of two people that have consistently given of their time so generously to benefit the local community.

“It’s often said that behind every great man is a great woman, but today that saying is being turned on its ear,” Mr Pitt said.

“Cheryl Campbell is well known as a local business woman and organiser of the Great Pyramid Race, but it is her husband George who has been the unsung hero.

Mr Pitt said the entire Campbell family are an institution in Gordonvale, but George Campbell deserves to be publically recognised for his work.Curtis Pitt and George Campbell

“George Campbell has been the silent partner who has helped with the Pyramid Race for years. Almost everyone in Gordonvale knows his famous big red truck that has carried more chairs and trestle tables than it would care to remember,” Mr Pitt said.

“George is like salt and pepper – he’s in everything. No matter what it is, he puts his hand up to sponsor, donate or chip in.

“George has also been a terrific supporter of junior sport in the area, even when his own children were no longer involved.

Mr Pitt said the second award recipient, Thelma Kelly, was also long overdue for recognition, with her enormous fundraising efforts for the Leukaemia Foundation over the past eight years.

“I’m told that Thelma alone has raised over $70,000 over the years,” Mr Pitt said.Curtis with Thelma Kelly and Ron Morrish

“The money that Thelma has raised helps the Leukaemia Foundation assist patients and their families living in Far North Queensland.

“The Foundation provide transfers, accommodation in one of their four purpose built – home away from home style units, support Services and also puts $1 million a year towards finding a cure.

“In Far North Queensland just in the last financial year – the Foundation provided over 3,500 room to patients and their families – with what Thelma raised this equates to over 467 room nights over the last 10 years.

“Every day as we go about our day – there are five Queenslanders being diagnosed with Leukaemia.

This is why it is so important for the Leukaemia Foundation to continue to raise these funds – and why people like Thelma Kelly are important to the Foundation.

Mr Campbell and Ms Kelly were each presented with a commemorative plaque by Mr Pitt.

Mr Pitt said the weekend was not only about the Pyramid Race, but it was also an opportunity for the Gordonvale community to show why it’s still the envy of many others in Far North Queensland.

“This great race shines the spotlight on what is truly a magnificent part of Australia,” Mr Pitt said.

“The reason there is still such a strong sense of community in Gordonvale is because of the efforts of people like George Campbell and Thelma Kelly.”

Mr Pitt said the Queensland government granted the Great Pyramid Race and Country Fair Association $10,000 in Q150 Community Funding towards staging the Great Pyramid Race as 2009 marks Queensland’s 150th anniversary year of separation from New South Wales.

“The Pyramid Race is like no other race in Australia. Since Queensland’s Centenary in 1959 it’s become an annual event and it has become legend,” Mr Pitt said.

“With our Towards Q2 initiative, the Government has set the ambition of Queenslanders becoming Australia’s healthiest people.

“That’s why we support events like today through the Queensland Events Regional Development Program.”

President of the Great Pyramid Race and Country Fair Association Cheryl Campbell said she has enjoyed organising this year’s event after a brief absence.

“It’s been great to see so many local businesses and sponsors get on board. The event has really grown to showcase Gordonvale and the wonderful community here,” Mrs Campbell said.

“We are very pleased to have had the Queensland Government’s Q150 Community Funding this year as it’s helped us put together a commemorative magazine and stage the grand parade.

“They would not have been possible without Q150.”