‘Scrappers’ from all over the state have been scouring farms for and tinkering with rusty old motorbikes, readying them for the journey to Tingha’s Green Valley Farm as part of the Scrapheap Adventure Ride.
Raising funds for Down Syndrome NSW (DSNSW), more than 100 bike lovers will roll in next Friday night, September 29. This is the seventh year running for Team Inverell, who have almost reached their $10,000 fundraising goal.
Col Meachem remembers that first year, when he set off with mates Phil Kimber and Mick O'Brien “on a wing and a prayer”. This year 19 locals will take part, including Emi Campbell – who has down syndrome – and her family.
“It’s not just about money raised, it’s about the emotion and awareness of the whole thing,” Meachem said. He said DSNSW provides invaluable support to parents and carers, who can call the organisation for advice 24/7.
“As the child grows from a baby into adolescence into (an) adult, male or female, they have their own different needs and they keep changing. So you have a 30 or 40 year old man or woman with down syndrome, it’s a lot different than having a 13-year-old child,” he said.
Along with the fundraising, each rider takes on the challenge of starting with a bike worth less than $1000 and doing whatever it takes to get it on the road.
Kimber has had a long journey with his K125 Suzuki, bought at a swap meet last year. From a rusty bore to a malfunctioning oil pump, there was always another piece to fix. “It’s all good fun,” he said. “It’ll get there one way or another.”
Bob Freeman spent 12 months getting his XL600R on the road after picking it up from an Ashford farm for $500. He said his favourite part was “seeing all of the different bikes and the effort people put into getting there.”
Team Inverell have one last fundraising event before the big day, hosting a dinner at the Royal Indian Kitchen on Wednesday night, September 27, with a guest speaker from DSNSW and a bush poet. To come along, call Col on 0458 255 557.
DSNSW will host a free NDIS workshop at Flanders House on Saturday, September 30, from 10am-2.30pm. To register, visit www.downsyndromensw.org.au or call 1800 811 629.