An­zac spirit rides

Char­ity bike ride to aid PTSD suf­fer­ers

Seymour Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Lewis Fis­cher

Few peo­ple would dream of rid­ing 1800 km on a push bike, but for Matt Aldridge, who spends his days tend­ing to race­horses, that’s the essence of the An­zac spirit.

The Coo-Wee Ride, or­gan­ised by Mr Aldridge, is a 15-day char­ity bike ride, av­er­ag­ing a gru­elling 107 km each day, de­signed to help vet­er­ans suf­fer­ing from Post-Trau­matic Stress Dis­or­der.

Mr Aldridge said many PTSD vic­tims suf­fer in si­lence, but bot­tling things up is prob­a­bly the worst thing they can do.

Big char­i­ties have the abil­ity to raise a lot of money but the CooWee cause is much sim­pler.

‘‘What big char­i­ties can’t do is get in be­hind the scenes,’’ Mr Aldridge said.

‘‘If we can or­gan­ise a bus trip for vet­er­ans to take them out to the footy for the day, then that’s what we’re about. We want to help peo­ple di­rectly so that they’re phys­i­cally and men­tally ac­tive.’’

Now a reg­is­tered char­ity, Mr Aldridge is hop­ing he can con­tinue rais­ing money af­ter the ride and con­tinue to help out vet­er­ans di­rectly.

Mr Aldridge’s wife Emma has a per­sonal con­nec­tion to the cause too. Her great grand­fa­ther, Wil­liam John Dick­ens, was a highly dec­o­rated sol­dier.

He fought in both world wars and lost his brother do­ing so too.

The ride, which be­gins in Barmera (Wil­liam’s rest­ing place) and ends in Beech­worth at the town’s RSL, is open to any vet­er­ans who are pre­pared to take on the chal­lenge.

The ma­jor­ity of rid­ers though will join Mr Aldridge in Sey­mour.

‘‘We’re hav­ing a vet­er­ans ride from Sey­mour to Beech­worth,’’ Mr Aldridge said.

‘‘Right now we’ve got about 10 vet­er­ans com­ing with us.’’

Prior to de­part­ing, a bar­be­cue break­fast will be held in Sey­mour on May 17. Ev­ery­one is wel­come to at­tend.

Do­na­tions can be made at the Coo-Wee ride web­site, cooweeride.org.au

For any vet­er­ans who want to join the ride, they can con­tact Mr Aldridge via the Coo-Wee Ride web­site or Face­book page.

Marathon: Coo-Wee Ride or­gan­iser Matt Aldridge will be rid­ing for vet­er­ans for 15 days in May.

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