Former Temora Citizen of the Year Graeme Sing has ridden his push-bike 152 km from Griffith to Temora, to raise funds and raise awareness of mental health.
Mr Sing, 65, has thus far raised more than $2000 to enable Temora mental health support group Open Minds Brighter Futures to hold future events and continue to spread their positive messages within the community.
“I started from Griffith at 8 am, I had the wind at my back until I got to Barellan. I was doing 40 km an hour, I was flying,” he said. “I had 20 bananas, so was feeling good.
“The wind changed when I got to Ardlethan; I slowed down a bit. When I got to Ariah Park, I put my foot down. I hit Temora about half past five. When I finished, I felt I could have kept going for another 50 km.”
Graeme has had his own struggles with mental health and also cares for his son Luke, who has his struggles with mental health.
Given the recent pandemic and tough economic times, he said he wanted to spread a message of hope to anyone struggling and encouraged individuals to reach out for help if they were in need and reminded all to take care of themselves.
Mr Sing was named Temora Citizen of the Year in 2020, due to his extensive contribution to local sport and his role as a volunteer at the Salvos for 32 years.
He said he believed keeping physically and mentally active and giving back to the community where possible helped maintain good mental health.
“Mental health is a good cause. Problems are a lot more common than you think. There have been lots of suicides in this area,” he said.
Mr Sing rides on average 400 km a week. He’s often spotted on his return trips to Cootamundra, Barmedman, Stockinbingal and Trungley Hall.
He completed his trip from Griffith to Temora with the help of an escort vehicle.
“I don’t find it that hard. I make sure I drink lots of water. I’m hoping to do an even longer ride in the future.”
Graeme thanked everyone who supported him for their generosity and kind words and said he felt inspired, that anything’s possible.
The Open Minds Brighter Futures Mental Health Awareness Group meet the first Wednesday of every month, at 5:30 pm at the Salvation Army Hall, Temora.
John Harper, a Stockinbingal sheep farmer who has become a celebrity motivational speaker on mental health, is a member of the group. He also has his own podcast, called Mate Helping Mate, which is available on Apple podcasts.
Anyone who wants to make a donation to Graeme’s cause or find out more about mental health support in Temora can do so by contacting the Open Minds Brighter Futures Facebook page.
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.
If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467.