Annika Dean has been nominated for Qld Local Hero award.
Annika Dean has been nominated for Qld Local Hero award.

Inspirational 11-year-old up for State Local Hero award

A YOUNG Mary's Creek girl has been nominated for a Local Hero award as part of the Queensland Community Achievement Awards for organising a Mother and Daughter Winter Wonderland Charity Ball, which raised $8000 for local charity Hope Reins.

Annika Dean is just 11 years old, but last year she came up with the idea and organised the massive fundraiser, going door to door to get support from local businesses, collecting a thousand milk containers to build a magical igloo archway entry into the venue, and co-ordinating a magical ball full of love, happines and inspiration that was at first just a dream.

"I originally had thought that organising a Mother and Daughter Charity Ball may only be a dream, but I said to myself I wish it would come true," says Annika.

VOTE NOW: Contenders emerge for Gympie's top athlete of 2020

"Then I told my Mum and she held my hand every step of the way and helped my dream come true. I also thought a lot about Pippa and Lightning to make their treatments possible and it ended up being a wonderful night filled with love, happiness and inspiration and I raised $3000 more than I expected."

CLICK HERE: First major contract awarded on $1 billion Gympie Bypass

Just before the ball, a not-so-happy turn of events happened at Hope Reins when one of Annika's favourite horses became gravely ill.

Kylie and Annika Dean
Kylie and Annika Dean

"We all thought that she was going to pass. I initially felt that the ball should be postponed, even though it was a big thing, as Pippa was a very big part of everyone's life at Hope Reins and helping Kylie and Ruth by being with her every night was important to me.

"I then changed my thought and said to myself the money I would raise would help with Pippa's vet bills and help build Lightning a special yard.

"Then a miracle came and she got stronger and stronger leading up to the day of the ball, and now she is in perfect health."

As Annika has grown up she has watched her parents get ready for other charity balls but had never been old enough to go.

"My dream has always been to go to a ball with my Mum and to feel like a princess," she said.

Kylie and Annika Dean
Kylie and Annika Dean

"I also loved helping raise money for feed for the horses at Hope Reins and I had organised two little fundraisers, with my first one raising $100 and my second was $200.

"So I thought I would organise my own ball and give all the money to Hope Reins.

"I came up with the theme of Winter Wonderland, because I've always wanted to go to the snow. I also thought I could make an igloo out of milk bottles as part of my homeschool science project which would also be helping the environment.

"I received so much support and donations from local businesses. This included things like the venue, printing, entertainment, caterers, decorator, the cake for Kylie and Ruth (Hope Reins founders), the amazing food and over 40 Facebook auction items and prizes.

"I also received sponsorship which paid for the singer and printing the tickets.

Fraser Coast Interschool Equestrian Competition Barrel Event - Annika Dean on Pegasus from Victory College in Gympie.
Fraser Coast Interschool Equestrian Competition Barrel Event - Annika Dean on Pegasus from Victory College in Gympie.

"My idea of organising a Mother and Daughter Ball was so Hope Reins could have money to keep helping the horses and because I love spending time with my Mum and I wanted daughters to spend time with their Mum too.

Hope Reins Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation in Gympie that has rescued many horses. They run free programs for the community to help heal people emotionally and the rescued horses play a big part in those programs.

.Finalists will be presented and Winners announced at an Awards Gala Presentation Dinner on Friday 27 November 2020.