Vet­eran’s epic ride hon­ours the fallen

Southern Telegraph - - Telegraph News - Ai­den Boy­ham

Since rid­ing off from the Bal­divis To­tally and Par­tially Dis­abled Veter­ans of WA club­house in June last year, Meadow Springs Viet­nam vet­eran Rob Eade has been on a mam­moth jour­ney around Aus­tralia in a bid to hon­our fallen dig­gers.

With trusty com­pan­ion Ginge the red heeler by his side, Mr Eade has rid­den across the coun­try lay­ing flags in hon­our of those who have made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice in com­bat.

The 72-year-old has laid hun­dreds of flags at war memo­ri­als in towns where fallen dig­gers en­listed or were born, which by the time he has fin­ished, will num­ber more than 600.

Speak­ing to the Tele­graph from Kempsey in New South Wales, Mr Eade said the past year had been a hec­tic one, cover­ing close to 20,000km. “I’m get­ting round the coun­try pretty well,” he said.

“I’ve had a few is­sues with my trike but that’s only main­te­nance — on the whole it has been re­ally good and I’ve met some won­der­ful peo­ple.”

Mr Eade was in­spired to do the jour­ney af­ter see­ing Amer­i­can man Mike Ehredt run across the US, lay­ing a flag ev­ery mile for each life lost in the Afghanistan con­flict.

“I just hope I’m do­ing every­body proud,” Mr Eade said.

“Mike’s words ‘you don’t stop be­cause you’re tired, you stop when you are fin­ished’ are my added in­spi­ra­tion.”

NSW has been Mr Eade’s big­gest stop so far, with 231 flags laid.

Queens­land is next on his agenda, with about 6500km to be cov­ered.

“The time-burn­ing part of all this is the re­search and get­ting flags ready for pre­sen­ta­tion,” Mr Eade said.

“I’m not af­ter money or any­thing like that; some­times I just need help with plan­ning ar­eas I’ve got to place flags and to have some­one there as well.”

Mr Eade’s trek has gar­nered me­dia at­ten­tion across the coun­try, with one GWN7 News re­port in par­tic­u­lar hav­ing a big im­pact on him.

“When I was in Kal­go­or­lie an el­derly lady, about 85-years-old, came up to me and said she had seen me on the news from when I was in Al­bany,” he said.

“She came up to me, gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and thanked me for what I was do­ing.

“It just knocked me off my socks, I broke down and started cry­ing. It’s those things that re­ally stick with me.”

To fol­low Mr Eades’ jour­ney, visit the Re­mem­brance Ride Oz page on Face­book.

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