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WA’s Young Australian of the Year 2007 awarded a Churchill Fellowship
Western Australia's Young Australian of the Year 2007, Darren Lomman, has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to help further his work in developing special equipment to help people with disabilities water ski, surf, ride motorbikes and climb cliff faces through the Dreamfit Foundation, his not for profit organisation.
Under the Fellowship, Darren will spend eight weeks travelling across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Italy visiting some of the world's leading engineering facilities in the disability, rehabilitation and automotive industries.
Darren plans to use the fellowship to research successful business models that can be applied to his work in Western Australia and to examine opportunities for international collaboration.
Darren was motivated to set up the Dreamfit Foundation after a chance meeting with Shane Thompson, who, although paralysed in a motorcross accident, longed to ride again. This meeting led Darren to create a hand-controlled motorbike.
Since then, the Dreamfit Foundation has successfully licensed designs for the motorbike, a 235hp speed boat, and even a hovercraft, all of which can be operated by people with lower limb paraplegia.
This month, as well as being awarded the Churchill Fellowship, Darren also secured a donation from Wesfarmers who will provide $205,000 of the $450,000 he needs to refit a workshop provided by the University of WA. The university has agreed to support him with a grant of $1.5 million over five years to help develop his designs in the workshop.