You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

All roads lead to Canberra

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 25/05/2014 Primrose Riordan

A bloke on a lawnmower is the latest in a swag of fund-raising travellers passing through Canberra to get their voices heard while raising dollars for good causes. West Australian lawnmower seller Craig Alford stopped in the capital while traversing the country on the back of a ride-on grass cutter to raise money for Rotary and prostate cancer research.

According to Lorraine McNuff, who is the fund-raising and marketing manager at Cure Cancer Australia, these sort of trips are on the increase –  and she could not be happier.

“We have seen an increase in people wanting to dedicate themselves to these adventures," she said. "It’s usually big life changes that prompt someone to do this sort of thing.”

Ms McNuff said most people who approach the organisation have just lost someone to cancer or been diagnosed themselves.

When 53-year-old Ian Retallack lost his mum to cancer after a 10-year battle, his brother discovered he had bowel cancer. “It was just way too much and something had to be done done” Mr Retallack told The CanberraTimes from the roadside outside Port Augusta. So the western film fan did what he had long been threatening to do – hooked up a horse to a cart and set out to circumnavigate Australia to raise money for cancer research.

Mr Retallack’s horses cover just 25 kilometres a day, but even though he still has another three years of travel left before he gets back to his home near Perth, he is determined to finish the trip. “I have been immensely overwhelmed by the help of the people I meet ... the service station people, the farmers and truck drivers, they’ll do anything for you” he said.

Sydneysider Chris Gruar, a cyclist who also is riding for cancer research, is in Canberra after travelling from England via Eastern Europe, the Arctic Circle, central Asia and China. His adventure will raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research, which funds some cancer researchers at the ANU.

Mr Gruar, who has travelled 42,405 kilometres and been eating stove pasta and porridge since he started in March 2012, said he was “surprised by the hospitality of the people, especially throughout the Muslim world”. He said he found Canberrans particularly accommodating of cyclists.

Some of the more out-there charity trips have included actor Samuel Johnson, who finished a unicycle ride around Australia this year, and Jacob French, who dressed as a Stormtrooper in 2011 and walked 5000 kilometres in his nine-month trek across the country. 

More From Canberra Times

Canberra Times
Canberra Times
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon