Greg and Joan Darlington have been commended for their bravery.
Greg and Joan Darlington have been commended for their bravery. Robyne Cuerel

Maryborough couple awarded for bravery during assault

CHILDHOOD sweethearts Greg and Joan Darlington saved somebody's life on April 9, 2010 - and that action has changed their own.

The Maryborough couple's lives changed forever the day they heard screams coming from a nearby house.

Although they are both aged in their late 60s, they raced outside and discovered a neighbour lying on the ground being attacked by three men, as another man and two women stood watching.

They begged the attackers to stop before they too were turned on and threatened by the violent offenders.

Despite their own lives being in danger, Joan managed to return home to call triple zero, while Greg confronted the attackers and warned them police were on the way.

The Darlingtons were honoured by the Governor General, each commended for their brave conduct at this year's Australian Bravery Awards.

"You can't allow that to happen in your neighborhood, your society… if anywhere you see it you help people, you don't just let a man be beaten," Mrs Darlington, a marathon runner, said.

"You can't sit by and watch things like this and I believe by the Australian government awarding us, it's an example to others and maybe other people will help."

Retired serviceman Mr Darlington said they "had to do something" when confronted with the dangerous situation.

"We've seen a lot of life but we've never had to do that before… It's so special because it's something we did together," he said.

After the attack, the couple also took to the witness stand and were cross-examined in a lengthy and emotionally confronting trial, facing the offenders in the courthouse.

During the trial, Mr Darlington said the bashing had given him "sleepless nights" and both he and his wife suffered stress following the incident.

They are bursting with pride over their commendation and say they are "thrilled" and "honoured" to be receiving it.

They will attend an official awards ceremony at Government House in Brisbane at a later date.

Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce said this year marked the 38th Anniversay of the Australian honours system with 21 bravery medals, 31 commendations for brave conduct and 10 group bravery citations awarded this year.

"We are privileged to have such role models in our society, and it is an honour to be able to recognise their acts of selfless bravery and thank them publicly for their brave actions," she said.



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