Gor­don’s happy to be help­ing oth­ers out

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

Af­ter fac­ing ‘‘some­thing of a health cri­sis’’ 15 years ago, De­niliquin’s Gor­don Gan­non was forced to reeval­u­ate how mean­ing­ful his life had been.

On re­flec­tion, he felt he could do more to sup­port oth­ers and so started his as­so­ci­a­tion with Rid­ing for the Dis­abled.

The club helps peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity learn new mo­tor skills, while of­fer­ing the spe­cial bond a horse pro­vides.

Mr Gan­non joined the Co­bram branch, then the only one in the district.

His in­volve­ment started with the do­na­tion of horses for the Co­bram riders, and he has been the group’s pres­i­dent for the past 14 years.

Mr Gan­non helped the De­niliquin branch fol­low­ing its for­ma­tion by Luke Har­ring­ton in 2015, and serves as its vice-pres­i­dent.

His ded­i­ca­tion to the or­gan­i­sa­tion has al­ready led to a life mem­ber­ship of the Co­bram club and Mr Gan­non has just been hon­oured at state level.

He re­ceived the out­stand­ing ser­vice award at a spe­cial din­ner hosted by RDA Vic­to­ria pa­tron and Vic­to­rian Gover­nor Linda Des­sau.

‘‘I was a bit taken aback when I re­ceived the let­ter, be­cause there are prob­a­bly peo­ple who are more de­serv­ing than I am; I just turn up with the horses,’’ Mr Gan­non said.

‘‘Af­ter I had some­thing of a health cri­sis 15 years ago, it led me to re­ally add up what my life has been. I felt I owed so­ci­ety some­thing of a debt.

‘‘I saw an ad (for Co­bram’s RDA) in the vet of­fice in Nu­murkah — I was look­ing for some­thing and I thought I could do that.

‘‘The rest is his­tory, as they say, and I’ve been pres­i­dent for the last 14 years,’’ Mr Gan­non said.

‘‘I take three horses over to Co­bram ev­ery sec­ond week and in the other weeks I take them to Deni.

‘‘I en­joy do­ing it and I feel I can re­ally re­late to them (the par­tic­i­pants).’’

Un­til the age of six, Mr Gan­non’s legs were wrapped in steel rods, known as irons.

His legs were twisted and he would suf­fer reg­u­lar vi­o­lent con­vul­sions, but noone knew the cause.

A lead­ing child spe­cial­ist from Eng­land told his par­ents break­ing and re-set­ting his legs was the only real op­tion, but, based on a rec­om­men­da­tion by Barham’s Dr May, the re­moval of Mr Gan­non’s ton­sils cured him of the con­vul­sions and even­tu­ally his legs straight­ened.

‘‘I know what it is like to be crip­pled, and some­one once said the out­side of a horse is good for the in­side of a per­son,’’ Mr Gan­non said.

‘‘Rid­ing for the Dis­abled gives the par­tic­i­pants some­thing to look for­ward to and it gives them some great mem­o­ries.

‘‘I think we are all in this thing called life to­gether and it’s im­por­tant to stop and help each other — the world would be a bet­ter place.’’

Mr Gan­non said any­one look­ing for ful­fil­ment should vol­un­teer, in any ca­pac­ity, with any or­gan­i­sa­tion, and said the Co­bram and De­niliquin RDA groups were al­ways look­ing for more help.

Happy bunch: Gor­don Gan­non from the Co­bram RDA with Mon­ica Men­tha.

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