Malta Climbing Club Honorary Members and Everest summiteers Robert Gatt, Marco Cremona and Greg Attard were today honoured with the “Prize for National Pride 2010” which is awarded by Frank Salt Investments on an annual basis to recognize extraordinary achievements of Maltese who serve as an example to the rest of their fellow countrymen. The award ceremony took place at a local top hotel with prize certificates being handed out by the Prime Minister Dr. Gonzi. I think its great and also very appropriate that such recognition is given to this successful expedition as, first of all, on a sporting level, nothing else achieved by Maltese during 2010 comes even close to this achievement, and secondly, anything that brings climbing, in whatever form, into the limelight, can only benefit our beloved sport. While all speakers commented on the bravery and determination of the Challenge8000 trio, they also all referred to them as being somewhat “crazy”! It seems like the common perception of climbing will never change! I also got to have a chat with the Prime Minister and explained to him the potential Malta has for climbing and climbing holidays, which he said was completely new to him. However he was very supportive, which is encouraging. Robert Gatt was unfortunately unable to attend personally, however he was ably represented by his father.
The Frank Salt Investments Award was set up by Frank Salt in 2004 to coincide with his 60th birthday and to “put something back into Malta”. Previous winners include the Gaia Foundation for the environment and MJ Publications Ltd for culture and the arts.