Sec­ond group ride re­mem­bers Ora Holt

Myrtleford Times - - News - By STRUAN JONES

FRIENDS, fam­ily, and North East com­mu­nity mem­bers will join to­gether for the sec­ond Ora Holt Me­mo­rial Trail Ride from Free­burgh to Wandiligong on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1.

The com­mu­nity ride, walk, or run is held in hon­our of Ora Holt, who grew up in the Alpine re­gion and died in April 2017 leav­ing her four young chil­dren or­phaned.

The ride, or­gan­ised by the 4 Kids and Car­ers Fu­ture Foun­da­tion, will raise money through dona­tions, auc­tions and raf­fles for the sup­port and on­go­ing care of her chil­dren and grand­par­ents who now look af­ter them.

Ora Holt grew up on the Free­burgh car­a­van park her par­ents ran, and from a young age she and her sis­ters learnt to ride horses with their close neigh­bours, the Web­ster fam­ily.

Back then, the Web­sters used to run trail rides around the area and Ora and her sis­ters would ride along.

De­spite the trail rides hav­ing long ceased, a few years ago Ora tele­phoned her old neigh­bour Pat Web­ster from her home in Wan­garatta want­ing to re­unite some of the riders from her younger days.

The re­sult was the re­vival of the an­nual ‘Wandi Pub Ride’ held around De­cem­ber each year, which reached Wandiligong from Free­burgh via the Re­liance Track over the ridge that sep­a­rates the towns.

In the No­vem­ber be­fore her death, Ora led the ride on one of Pat Web­ster’s horses, along­side some of her old friends from the area. Speak­ing with the Alpine Ob

server, Pat Web­ster said Ora was won­der­ful at bring­ing peo­ple to­gether.

“She was an amaz­ing woman, ab­so­lutely amaz­ing, very good at com­mu­nity ser­vices, bring­ing peo­ple to­gether like she did with us, and a great or­gan­iser,” Ms Web­ster said.

“The ride is very heart­felt to every­body. And the peo­ple that come on that day are all there for her mem­ory, so the tales that go around are quite ex­tra­or­di­nary as well.”

Long-time fam­ily friend Fran Bent­ley has helped or­gan­ise this year’s ride on be­half of the 4 Kids and Car­ers Fu­ture Foun­da­tion, and is hop­ing about 100 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 30 on horse­back, will raise $5000.

Her daugh­ter was a good friend of Ora’s back when they were at school to­gether in Bright, and has known Ora’s par­ents since they moved to the Alpine re­gion.

In one sense, she said, the ride is a con­tin­u­a­tion of what Ora had al­ready started, yet now it is held in her hon­our, and fundraises for her chil­dren.

This year the ride will fin­ish at the Wandiligong Maze for a bar­be­cue lunch.

Ms Bent­ley said the feel­ing of the ride is gen­er­ally happy and fun, be­cause “we like to keep it how Ora would have liked it,” yet ad­mit­ted it will be an emo­tional day, es­pe­cially for those who had done the ride pre­vi­ously with Ora.

The ride and the 4 Kids and Car­ers Foun­da­tion seek to raise aware­ness of fam­ily vi­o­lence more broadly.

The ride will leave from the Free­burgh Com­mu­nity Hall at 9.45am on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1 and travel up over the Re­liance Track to the Wandiligong Maze where lunch and drinks will be avail­able for pur­chase from 11.30am.

The ride will also be open to run­ners and walk­ers.

Peo­ple are wel­come to join in the lunch and fundrais­ing even if they don’t par­tic­i­pate in the ride/ run/walk.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Fran Bent­ley on 0417 435 139.

RID­ING ON: Horse riders pause for a break on the in­au­gu­ral Ora Holt Me­mo­rial Ride last year between Free­burgh and Wandiligong.

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