ARMIDALE walking wonder Sarah McFarlane-Eagle is this year’s face of our regional phonebook and the covergirl for a directory that has gone back to a bigger size.
Distribution of the 2013/14 White and Yellow Pages begins tomorrow and features a larger type or font, in response to feedback and criticism last year from users that you needed a magnifying glass to read telephone numbers (and you could get a magnifying glass from the publishers, too, which compounded the controversy).
The new directory features the theme “Keeping our Communities Healthy”, which is fitting for a woman who has trekked thousands of kilometres across four continents to raise awareness of, and funds for, mental illness.
Ms McFarlane-Eagle was selected for her selfless attitude to go above and beyond to improve the quality of life for locals.
She joins a roll-call of other locals who have achieved great feats in the community and appeared on the covers of other years’ editions.
In 2001, Ms McFarlane-Eagle’s brother, Ben, died following a battle with schizophrenia.
She established Walking Feat Inc to raise awareness of mental health and to honour plans she and Ben had made to go on a trek together.
Beginning with a 600km walk along the Bibbulmun track in Western Australia, she has since done other epic walks across France, Spain and Japan.
Ms McFarlane-Eagle’s walks have raised $20,000 for SANE Australia, a national charity helping those affected by mental illness to lead a better life.
During her journeys she hosted information sessions to increase regional Australia’s awareness and understanding of mental illness.
Most recently, she embarked on her fourth Walking Feat Inc trek: a three-month walk from Armidale to Melbourne, arriving at her destination on World Suicide Prevention Day in 2012.
Ms McFarlane-Eagle said she felt lucky and honoured to be selected for the phonebook cover.
“It is such a great opportunity to really spread the word and increase awareness and understanding of mental illness,” she said.
Last year’s cover featured Tamworth resident Helen Lesley.