Tamworth’s Fitzroy Plaza was abuzz on Friday, as riders in the 2018 Variety Postie Bike Dash rolled back into town after a week on the road.
A welcoming party of family, friends, supporters and beneficiaries was there to greet them after their 1228km round-trip through regional NSW.
The event raised $175,000 – and Variety head of regional development James Bourke said that was “absolutely amazing”.
“Obviously regional areas like the New England have been hit hard by drought,” he said.
“We were wondering how that would affect our fundraising, but we had 25 more riders than last year, and raised $50,000 more … we’re really grateful to everyone for their generosity.”
Bullimbal School – which received a grant from the Dashers – provided them with lunch at the finish line.
Principal Brett Pearson said the $5000 would be used to upgrade equipment in the sensory room.
“Our students all have quite complex learning needs, and we run highly specialised programs to meet those; the sensory room is one of our additional learning spaces we use to maximise outcomes for our students,” he said.
St Nicholas Catholic, Bundarra Central, Glen Innes West Infants and Toormina Public schools also received gear and supplies.
Among the weary riders was Rowan McClung of Gunnedah, whose wife and son Ellen and Cameron had followed along behind.
Mr McClung, his family and supporters raised $4000.
“I’ve been wanting to do something like this since high school, just to be part of raising money for a charity,” he said.
“It was a good time, just going around dropping into schools and seeing where the donations were going.
“I’d definitely do it again.”
Tamworth team, the Tamex Postie Dogs, have raised more than $31,000 – and the donations continued to roll in after they crossed the finish line, member David Doherty said.
“I just took a call from someone who donated $100,” he said.
“It’s a wonderful result for the Postie Dogs … we ride the miles for the smiles and helping children – it feels good.”