Close call dur­ing char­ity run

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Si­mon Rup­pert

A char­ity run al­most turned to tragedy on Thurs­day when a sup­port ve­hi­cle was smashed off the Hume Hwy by a truck near Win­ton.

The semi-trailer hit the side of a cam­per­van writ­ing it off and caus­ing mi­nor dam­age to its own front wing and mir­ror.

The in­ci­dent will not stop char­ity marathon runner Billy Tin­dall from com­plet­ing his 2000 km jour­ney which aims to raise $100 000 for the Daniel Mor­combe Foun­da­tion.

Billy was there when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened and said it was a miracle no-one was hurt.

‘‘I was run­ning in front of the sup­port ve­hi­cle when the truck crashed into it,’’ Billy said.

‘‘The truck had run into the van then swerved past. I ac­tu­ally had my mother be­side me at the time.

‘‘My first re­ac­tion was to pull my mum out of the way, off the road, then I went to check on the driver.

‘‘There was only one per­son in the van when it hap­pened, so thank­fully every­one is fine.

‘‘The van is writ­ten off, but we are wait­ing on a new one, so we can con­tinue the run and con­tinue rais­ing aware­ness for the foun­da­tion.’’

Billy left Mel­bourne on Satur­day, Septem­ber 23, to run to the Sun­shine Coast over 35 days rais­ing money and aware­ness about child safety.

He ar­rived in Be­nalla on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 27, and met with spon­sors at Wool­worths in Smythe St be­fore head­ing for some much-de­served rest and re­lax­ation.

He was head­ing for the NSW bor­der on Thurs­day when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened.

Sev­eral am­bu­lances at­tended along with the CFA, SES and po­lice, how­ever, there were no se­ri­ous in­juries and the main task for emer­gency ser­vices was to clear de­bris from the road and as­cer­tain what hap­pened.

At­tend­ing po­lice said the big­gest is­sue they were deal­ing with was that mo­torists were not slow­ing as they passed.

With the Hume Hwy down to one lane there was some con­cern that a dis­tracted driver may cause an­other crash.

Billy is due to end his run on Fri­day, October 27, at the ‘‘Walk for Daniel’’ event on the Sun­shine Coast, which co­in­cides with the foun­da­tion’s ‘‘Day for Daniel 2017’’.

This is the 13th an­nual ‘‘Day for Daniel’’, which is not only about rais­ing aware­ness of child safety is­sues, but also ed­u­cat­ing chil­dren re­gard­ing their per­sonal safety.

Billy said he got in­volved with the Daniel Mor­combe foun­da­tion as they were based close to his home town.

‘‘I was the same age as Daniel, who was sadly ab­ducted and mur­dered in 2003,’’ Billy said.

‘‘Like many peo­ple I fol­lowed the story over the years, and when I be­came a fa­ther I wanted to do my part to keep kids safe.’’

Daniel Mor­combe’s par­ents Bruce and Denise have urged com­mu­ni­ties along the route to get be­hind Billy and sup­port him and his crew.

‘‘A run of this mag­ni­tude is hard to com­pre­hend. We wish Billy and his sup­port crew the very best of luck,’’ Bruce said.

‘‘Pro­tect­ing chil­dren is every­one’s busi­ness. Get be­hind this bloke and sup­port him as he will make a dif­fer­ence to keep­ing kids safe.’’

Billy said Bruce and Denise were an in­spi­ra­tion and kept him fo­cused while run­ning.

‘‘They’re ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble peo­ple, the strength and courage that they’ve shown is amaz­ing,’’ Billy said.

‘‘If they can do what they’ve done it in­spires me to be able to do this.

‘‘They’ve been a huge sup­port the whole way. I’m very thank­ful to be able to do this for them.’’

De­ter­mined: Billy Tin­dall and his sup­port crew meet­ing staff at Wool­worths Be­nalla, which is one of his spon­sors.

Crash scene: Luck­ily no-one was in the back of the van when the crash oc­curred.

No-one hurt: The truck sus­tained mi­nor dam­age.

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