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10 February 2021
BY DYLAN DE JONG
Co-ordinators of a charity motorcycle tour from Ararat in remembrance of fallen police officers are confident support for the event will continue to grow after a successful ride at the weekend.
More than 550 motorcycle enthusiasts from across Victoria and South Australia gathered at Ararat early on Sunday morning for the Blue Ribbon Foundation Ararat Branch 13th annual Ride to Remember.
Riders ventured out on a four-hour route through Moyston, Pomonal, Halls Gap, Willaura, Dunkeld and Maroona townships before heading back to Alexandra Gardens in the rural city.
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Ride co-ordinator Dianne Radford said increasing volunteer numbers and high participation during the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed how important the event was for Victorians and members of the police force.
“The actual ride has grown considerably since our 10th anniversary three years ago,” she said.
“The event is going from strength to strength.
“There was a huge contingent of current police and retired police officers taking part in the ride, which shows that this ride has become quite significant for the community.
“We have a huge amount of community support and you can’t do these events without these volunteers who we rely on heavily.”
Mrs Radford said the ride’s importance was amplified after several police officers died in the past year, including four officers who were hit by a truck on the Eastern Freeway in April.
“We lost local police officers from the region last year as well,” she said.
“I think with those tragedies top of mind, that brought more police out who wanted to support the event this year.
“To support our Victoria Police members for the ride is the most important aspect for the Ararat branch – to perpetuate the memories of all police killed in the line of duty.”
Mrs Radford estimated the event helped raise more than $20,000.
The Ararat branch plans to donate all proceeds to help East Grampians Health Service purchase an x-ray machine for the ‘John McNally’ Medical Imaging Department.
Mrs Radford said the event had the added benefit of injecting money back into the region’s economy.
“All accommodation was booked out, people were stopping in at petrol stations, buying food from local cafês and supermarkets,” she said.
“The economy would have had a massive boost over the weekend.”
Mrs Radford said the council worked closely with event organisers to ensure COVID protocols were in place to allow the event to proceed safely.
She encouraged all community groups to proceed with planning events this year, highlighting the socio-economic benefits to the region.
“Ararat branch of Blue Ribbon took on this ride with new restrictions in place and got it over the line,” she said.
“We hope our efforts can help set an example and give community groups the confidence to plan events to show people they can do it.”
The entire February 10, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!