2 May 2023

Wagga families invited to kick off their shoes and bowl '4 Life'

| Chris Roe
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Lifeline RSL

Jess Chalmers and Bruce Mason from ANZ are organising Bowls 4 Life to support Lifeline in the Riverina. Photo: Chris Roe.

Bruce Mason was at an ANZ Business Banking conference in Sydney where he was challenged to get behind Lifeline and support the important work they do in the Riverina.

“We heard from a couple of representatives from Lifeline in New South Wales and they put it out there to see whether we were interested in doing some events over the next 12 months or so to increase awareness in our region and do some fundraising,” he explained.

“All of us have relationships with people that have been through mental depression and know how important it is.”

Bruce and colleague Jess Chalmers are organising a day of barefoot bowls at the Wagga RSL to get families together, have some fun and support a vital service.

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“The thing that really stuck with me at the conference was a story about how they had saved this person’s life,” Jess said.

“They had just rung Lifeline and asked for help and that one phone call got them out of that dark place. It’s just a really important cause and we felt that we needed to raise funds for it.”

Lifeline is a uniquely Australian service that provides free, 24-hour telephone crisis support dealing with suicide prevention, mental health and emotional support.

The service was founded in Sydney in 1963 by Christian minister and broadcaster Reverend Dr Sir Alan Walker who was motivated by a call he received from a man who went on to take his own life.

Today, Lifeline answers more than a million calls a year from Australians in distress and employs more than 1000 staff and 10,000 volunteers.


Bowls 4 Life is on at the Wagga RSL on 30 April. Photo: Supplied.

“We’re encouraging families to come along because I think that where the focus in the past was on adults with financial stress or marital stress and stuff like that, nowadays, more and more of our teenagers and youth are suffering pretty severe mental depression,” said Bruce.

“We all know what the worst consequences can be and we are losing too many.

“We just heard of one recently in Wagga involving an 11-year-old, so we just want to try to put the awareness out there and hopefully do some fundraising to help reduce that.”

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The barefoot bowls event promises to be a celebration of the good things in life with pizzas, raffles, kids entertainment and of course plenty of time to slip your shoes off and have a roll on the greens.

“Hopefully we can together have a nice fun day that really focuses on families and of course anybody and everybody is more than welcome, the more the merrier!” said Bruce.

“We’ve also been speaking with the local Lifeline people and they’ll be here to speak with people about what they do and how people can support them.”

The Bowls 4 Life will be on at The Wagga RSL from Sunday afternoon, 30 April.

If you need help from Lifeline, call 13 11 14 or visit the website here.

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