Ride lifts lid on mental health

IT started with 163 motorbikes six years ago as a way to shine a light on mental health issues.

MATES: Harold Hagcliffe from Dapto, Lyndon Zetovic and Allan Grout from Nowra, Eddie Fenech, Dave and Wendy Wotton from Albion Park spent a great day out at the Ride for Mental Illness Awareness at the North Nowra Tavern last year. Bookings are open for this year’s ride. 	 	Photo: JESSICA LONG

MATES: Harold Hagcliffe from Dapto, Lyndon Zetovic and Allan Grout from Nowra, Eddie Fenech, Dave and Wendy Wotton from Albion Park spent a great day out at the Ride for Mental Illness Awareness at the North Nowra Tavern last year. Bookings are open for this year’s ride. Photo: JESSICA LONG

The Ride For Mental Illness Awareness struck a chord and created an environment in which people were comfortable to speak about issues they had buried deep inside.

Last year more than 1000 riders took part in the ride that winds its way from Albion Park to North Nowra then up to Jamberoo.

This year founding member and organiser Don Dummett said he expected about the same number.

Mr Dummett knows only too well the personal impact mental illness and suicide can have on a family.

With the help and support of his family and friends he held the ride for the last six years in memory of his father.

“This is about spreading awareness, and I have to say I think I’ve opened a big can of worms,” Mr Dummett said.

“People I have known most of my life have been opening up. Some of them really surprised me.

“I think the ride creates an environment where people feel comfortable to talk about [mental health]. 

“They talk about it freely and openly where normally they wouldn’t,” he said.

The ride starts at Albion Park Showground for breakfast and registration on Sunday, August 10.

Riders then follow the Princes Highway toward Bomaderry, going through Cambewarra to North Nowra Tavern for lunch and entertainment.

The next leg takes the riders to Jamberoo to enjoy family activities and entertainment, as well as an auction at Kevin Walsh Oval.

The cost for the ride is $20 per bike.

Registration can be taken on the day at 8am at Albion Park Showground, Tongarra Road, Albion Park. Or riders can register at North Nowra Tavern. 

All proceeds will go to suicide prevention strategies. For more information, visit www.sspan.org.au.

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