When two great mates sat down for a ‘long lunch’ just under a decade ago, they couldn’t have imagined in a million years that the conversation they were having at that very minute would change so many people’s lives significantly.
The two great mates are Penrith golf pro Jonathan Green and local solicitor and Nepean legend Mark Mulock. The exchange that day went along the lines of ( after 3 or possibly 6 bottles of Red) “I reckon I can walk between here and Katoomba”. “ Well I reckon I could run from here to Lithgow” “Okay I can walk from here to Orange!”
After ‘to-ing and fro-ing’ for much of the afternoon it was decided “We will walk from here (Blaxland) to Bathurst! Hence the Great Walk Foundation was spawned. In the first year we walked, we all quickly decided that it was a lot more beneficial on our lower limbs to walk the opposite way and start at Bathurst and finish at Blaxland. All 160kms of it.
The Great Walk Foundation is one of the proudest organizations I have been associated with. After this current walk was completed (May 24th- May 28th) astonishingly the charity has now raised over $900,000! With every red cent going straight to the beneficiaries.
The Great Walk give 100 per cent of monies raised to the designated recipients. In 2016 $120,000 was raised and we’re only just starting the month of June. Fantastic really.
Those that have felt the GWF’s love this year alone are:
Headspace- Mental Health program in Bathurst district with a priority area of suicide prevention.
Lithgow Hospital- Support through funding of new equipment for hearing tests for children in the local area.
Riding for the Disabled- Nepean Branch, assists with the purchase of food and other incidentals for horses used in the program.
Sailability- Nepean Branch. Purchase of purpose built yachts for disabled sailors.
Greater Community Transport- purchase of another new bus for community transport.
Springwood Hospital- New purpose built beds for palliative care patients. Nepean Hospital Children’s Ward- new equipment for Ward, including incubators in the NIC (Newborn intensive Care) unit.
As you can see the Great Walk’s donations cover a vast array of institutions who each are incredibly appreciative of the efforts of the walkers. On the walkers, what a special bunch of men. Jonathan Green and Mark Mulock, Dr Tony Bowden, Trent Baker, Greg Nelson, Rob Wearn, Cameron McInnes, Graham O’Kell, Dave ‘Crossy’ Crossman and yours truly.
And the walk couldn’t take place without the honourable road crew, who are Flav Varnier, Jeff Townsend, Nick Shaw and Brett Lockett. Your blood should be bottled boys.
All involved do the walk for various reasons but to be able to help others by walking on average 35km per day, is the main catalyst for the pain and blisters that mount up.
The Knickerbocker in Bathurst, Parkside Motor Inn Lithgow, the Gardners Inn Blackheath, the Pioneer Tavern and Lapstone Hotel have all helped along the journey in massive ways.
Next year is going to be special for the Great Walk Foundation, it’s celebrating 10 years of walking for charity and the magical 1 MILLION DOLLAR mark WILL be reached! How good.
To find out more about the Great Walk Foundation go to their websites or any of their social media sites. Thanks to those supporting such a worth while cause.