Past Award Nominees and Recipients
2011 Local Hero
Donald Ritchie OAMTown: Vaucluse
State: New South Wales
Suicide prevention advocate
The famous ocean cliff in Sydney’s east, The Gap, is surrounded by multimillion dollar properties and is home to some of Australia’s wealthiest people. However the scenic locale has become an infamous landmark because of its reputation as a suicide spot. Donald Ritchie has lived opposite The Gap for almost five decades. In a situation where most would turn a blind eye, Don has taken action. Each day, Don keeps an active eye out for people who might need help. For years he has been coaxing people away from the cliffside by inviting them back to his home for a chat over a cup of tea. In this way, Don has saved more than 160 lives. Over the years, he has received tokens of thanks from many he has saved, however, tragically, the deaths of so many are eternally etched in his mind. Don’s services to suicide prevention are truly remarkable. His kind words and invitations into his home in times of trouble have made an enormous difference. With such simple actions Don has saved an extraordinary number of lives.