Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey AC yesterday presented Bravery Awards to best mates Tom Harper, 19, and Jae Waters, 17, who went to the aid of a friend being attacked by a shark at Ballina. Picture AAP/David Clark
Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey AC yesterday presented Bravery Awards to best mates Tom Harper, 19, and Jae Waters, 17, who went to the aid of a friend being attacked by a shark at Ballina. Picture AAP/David Clark

‘Guardian Angel’, teen heroes win bravery awards

QUEENSLAND Governor Paul de Jersey presented four Medals of Bravery in recognition of extraordinary feats of courage in a ceremony yesterday.

The Medal is the highest honour a civilian can receive and its recipients are the embodiment of the Queensland spirit, His Excellency de Jersey said.

"There are many ways to make a difference, but what you recipients have in common is you have contributed in a way that is both unique and altruistic.

"Altruism is an evocative and inspiring word … unfortunately, not many people know the true meaning of altruism. You do. For that, we are profoundly grateful and we acknowledge you all."

Ryan Martin, right, with brother Josh. Ryan drowned at Fingal Head in 2016 after heroically saving the life of a young girl caught in a rip.
Ryan Martin, right, with brother Josh. Ryan drowned at Fingal Head in 2016 after heroically saving the life of a young girl caught in a rip.

Three medal-winners were able to attend on the day while a fourth was awarded posthumously.

The late Ryan Richard Martin's Medal was received by his mother Robyn, in recognition of her family's loss when Mr Martin sacrificed his life saving a mother and daughter caught in a dangerous rip.

"Their family contact ours every anniversary (of Ryan's death) to tell us that they're thinking of him," Mrs Martin said.

"This year the family sent us a photo of the young girl, who has become a young woman now.

"They tell us that Ryan is now watching over their daughter as her guardian angel."

Ryan Martin’s brother Josh and mum Robyn Martin together at Mermaid Beach. Picture: Adam Head
Ryan Martin’s brother Josh and mum Robyn Martin together at Mermaid Beach. Picture: Adam Head

 

Ballina teenagers Jae Xander Waters and Thomas Bruce Harper were awarded a Medal of Bravery each for the daring rescue of a friend attacked by a Great White Shark while surfing.

The boys, aged just 16 and 14 at the time, saw the shark caught in the leg rope of their friend Cooper's surfboard and swam towards it to pull their friend free.

Frenzied by the blood in the water, the shark gave pursuit as the boys paddled to shore with their friend balanced across both their surfboards.

All escaped with their lives.

Waters' parents, Gina and Alex, reflected that perhaps the greater bravery was that the attack had failed to dull the passion the three mates shared for surfing.

Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey AC presented Bravery Awards this morning at Government House - Best mates Tom Harper (19) and Jae Waters (17) went to the aid of a mate being attacked by a shark at Ballina, Brisbane Tuesday 9th April 2019 Picture AAP/David Clark
Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey AC presented Bravery Awards this morning at Government House - Best mates Tom Harper (19) and Jae Waters (17) went to the aid of a mate being attacked by a shark at Ballina, Brisbane Tuesday 9th April 2019 Picture AAP/David Clark

Senior Constable Adam David Tickner was the final recipient of the award, earned by risking his life taking a volatile criminal peacefully into custody at Noosa Heads when easier options were available.

The man had crashed a stolen vehicle into a 7,000L petrol tank and had locked himself into a service station armed with a gun as the odour of petrol fumes flooded the compound.

Snr Cst Tickner was able to defuse the situation peacefully despite the threat of violence.

No shots were fired, saving the life of bystanders, three police officers including Snr Cst Tickner and the offender's own.


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