Dubbo’s Andrew McKay has had an audience with The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Lynne Cosgrove as part of the annual Melbourne to Dubbo Zoo2Zoo bike ride for the Black Dog Institute.
Riders departed Melbourne on March 3 and arrived at Canberra on Thursday, where they were received at Government House for an afternoon tea with Sir and Lady Cosgrove.
Mr McKay and his father Ritchie are the support crew for this year’s ride, and said the chance to bring their cause to the Governor-General’s attention – and receive individual medallions from him – was “phenomenal”.
“They couldn’t have made us more welcome,” Mr McKay said. “Our visit to Government House was an incredible experience. The hospitality we were shown was humbling.”
Zoo2Zoo has raised about $1.2 million for the Black Dog Institute since 2009, with this month’s ride raising $25,000 so far.
... everyone knows someone who has suffered from bipolar or depression and the work the Black Dog Institute does in that area is crucial.Andrew McKay
That includes an impressive $14,000 from a single rider, Christian Johansson, who has single-handedly raised close to $70,000 over the last eight years.
Mr McKay said the challenge, as well as the chance to help a great cause, kept riders coming back.
“I think it’s partly the physical challenge and the camaraderie that you do get out of the ride, and also supporting the Black Dog Institute.
“That pulls a few people because everyone knows someone who has suffered from bipolar or depression and the work the Black Dog Institute does in that area is crucial,” he said, adding that the work of the support crew was also crucial.
“Since 2009 we’ve raised … awareness, and trying to eliminate the stigma of mental health as well.”
Another highlight of the “spectacular” ride was Saturday night’s accommodation; riders stayed at the Bonnie Doon holiday house from iconic Australian film The Castle.
The Zoo2Zoo ride is set to arrive at Taronga Western Plains Zoo about 1pm on Sunday, March 11.
Future rides include London to Paris in April, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Villiers-Brettoneux, and Sydney to Dubbo in October.