Since 2016, Hall Chadwick QLD have sponsored RideWest, a bi-annual charity bike ride from Brisbane to Longreach, raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the mental health services they provide through their ‘Wellbeing Out West’ program. This year, six of the Hall Chadwick QLD team participated in the grueling 8 day, 1311km ride arriving at Longreach on 29 April, raising over $500,000 along the way.
From David Lissauer, National Chairman Hall Chadwick Association
I was privileged to greet the riders at various locations on the last day of the ride and together with Claire, be at the Longreach finish line. Here, I was able to meet the whole riding collective including the team from Hall Chadwick QLD and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).
Hall Chadwick QLD is a major sponsor of the event, and their participation is greatly valued by the Wellbeing team, the RFDS as well as the general community.
When those I met over the time in Longreach and surrounds knew I was part of the Hall Chadwick team, I was genuinely thanked time and time again.
I spent quality time with the Chairman of RFDS, Russell Postle. I indicated that I would endeavour to push for other offices in the National Association to provide Rider support as well as assist in raising funds for this very worthwhile cause.
Having unfettered funds directed to those in the community, where many need assistance by highly trained and qualified RFDS/Wellbeing staff is a fantastic achievement. Mental health conjures a range of views impacting so many in our communities. Such a positive approach to supporting wellbeing projects must be applauded.
To Andrew and the team from Brisbane, my congratulations. A 1,311 km ride through the Australian outback over 8 long days, after 12 months or more of rigorous training, is quite a feat. Every member of the Hall Chadwick family around the country are very proud of your individual and collective achievements.
From Andrew Perkins, Director Hall Chadwick QLD and rider
Collectively RideWest 2022 has raised over $500,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Wellbeing Out West program that provides clinical services for mental health and wellness programs for remote communities.
We had previously raised around $1,400,000 so will be very close to a $2m total fundraising.
A highlight of our trip this time was visiting Charleville and the RFDS base there. The RFDS team cooked us breakfast in the hangar and Jo (Base manager) and Dr Tim gave us a wonderful tour and talk on the work of the RFDS team out of Charleville and the importance of the Wellbeing Out West program.
I was lucky to be able to catch up with Izzy Graham there as well, who is one of my daughter Issy’s best friends from primary and secondary school. Izzy Graham started as a RFDS Flight Nurse at the Charleville base in January 2022 and she is loving it. If you have not seen the TV drama series RFDS based in Broken Hill, do yourself a service and watch it. It is a fictionalised story but fantastic. Being in the Charleville base felt like being “on set” in the RFDS show!
The ride was unbelievable, once we crossed “the hill” on the first day, things got better. We had favourable winds on the second and third days to Chinchilla and then onto Roma. In Mitchell, we spent an afternoon relaxing in the artesian spa pool. The Melbournites who were with us caught the Anzac day footy game between Collingwood and the Bears and given they were all Collingwood supporters, were very happy with the outcome.
Mitchell to Charleville was wet and cool, but we had a tailwind, so it was not too bad. First time on that road and it was fantastic. Then up to Augathella to be greeted by most of the school kids and their teachers and parents from the Augathella State School, as we had the Principal, Natalie Newell riding with us. Then the school kids took us on a tour around town, with around 30 of the total of 52 kids on bikes. It was a lot of fun.
Augathella to Blackall is probably my favourite day of the ride. It is big, 220k but the countryside and the change that you see over the day is amazing. We start in heavy Mulga country that then opens up to more open bottle tree country with thick Buffel grass. Then the highlight is crossing the watershed between the Murray Darling Basin and the Lake Eyre Basin. A raindrop on one side ends up in the sea at Goolwa in South Australia and a drop on the other side ends up in Lake Eyre. Once you cross the watershed the country opens up into beautiful open downs with the Carnarvon Ranges on the north and open Mitchell grass plains. We then come down into Tambo and past Tambo Station where my mother-in-law grew up as a child. Then onto Blackall and into the Gidyea country.
Last day was a big one, 216k and we had very favourable winds including a tailwind from Barcaldine to Longreach. At times the peloton was sitting on 40km per hour. The whole day we averaged over 30km/hr which was pretty good for a large group of riders. Quick stop at Ilfracombe for a “sharpie” and then the last 27km to Longreach to a wonderful reception there from the community.
It was a wonderful week of sharing and supporting each other while doing something important for a great organisation, being RFDS. Your support has been instrumental in the success of this ride and I cannot thank you enough. Having so many people support me as a rider gave me a lot of motivation to work hard within the group to make sure we all got there safely and that we can all be a part of raising awareness of the importance of managing our overall “wellness” including our mental health. Dr Tim said in Charleville that around 50% of people over their lifetime will have some issue with anxiety or depression. The more that we can take away the stigma of talking about it and normalising these discussions and have support available for people who need it, the better it is for individuals as well as communities. Early intervention is the key and that typically comes with the ability to be able to talk about it. Being able to talk about mental health challenges in the same way you can talk about a broken finger or a sprained ankle is the way to achieve early intervention.
RideWest is about more than raising money, which is obviously very important. It is also about raising awareness so that we can all achieve these early intervention and support outcomes.