A group of 35 cyclists were cheered across the finish line by the students and staff of Deepwater Primary School last month after riding 430 kilometres across New England to raise $245,000 for Australia's country children's charity, Royal Far West.
The 8th annual Ride for County Kids event commenced in rain and wind chill from Bendemeer, just outside Tamworth, on Sunday May 22 with a peloton of riders lead by Royal Far West Ambassador and Australian cycling great Mark Renshaw.
Travelling through communities across New England, the ride raised awareness and vital funds to connect country kids with complex, undiagnosed developmental and mental health needs to the critical assessments, services and support they need to thrive, through Royal Far West's Paediatric Development Program (PDP).
The first leg finished at a community event in Armidale's Civic Park, before riders headed to Inverell via Copeton Dam, and then to Glen Innes via Emmaville, before a wonderful community finish at Deepwater Public School to mark the end of the grueling tour.
Royal Far West Ride for Country Kids Ambassador (and Aussie cycling legend) Mark Renshaw said Royal Far West do some amazing work for Australia's country kids.
"Being a dad and living in Bathurst, I understand how challenging it can be accessing health services locally when you live in the country," Mr Renshaw said.
For the past three years, Royal Far West has provided support to more than 350 children aged under 12 years-old across New England, delivering more than 5,000 sessions of specialist paediatric health services from occupational therapy, speech pathology, psychology, to vital health screening services.
Danielle Chapman, Royal Far West general manager fundraising, marketing and advocacy said the need in rural and remote communities continues to grow particularly off the back of several tough years of back-to-back challenges for many regional communities.
"The need in rural and remote communities is significant," Mrs Chapman said.
" All of the funds raised will go towards providing vital health intervention and support to country kids, because we passionately believe that where you live should not be a barrier to access services or a cause for disadvantage."
"We wish to thank our riders, as well as our generous partners who all threw their wholehearted support and energy behind this event. Royal Far West also thanks the local councils and businesses, community members, teachers, media, parents and families, and sponsors of our wonderful cyclists."
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