Ride for Compassion Takes a Merriwa Pitstop


From Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia to Bar Beach in Newcastle, nothing was finer than lunch at Merriwa’s St David’s Uniting Church on Tuesday for the 42 people taking part in the Ride for Compassion.

Twenty-four bike riders and their support crew from Ride for Compassion hit the streets of Merriwa about 1pm on Tuesday to take a break from their 4200km journey and enjoy a freshly barbecued sausage and coleslaw and some spectacularly presented lamingtons thanks to members of the church and the Merriwa community.

Barbara Campbell has supported the education and welfare of children through the Compassion initiative since 1980 and her involvement was celebrated by the Compassion Ride contingent including Rachel Patricks.

The lunchtime pitstop was one of many made by the group after stepping off from Cotteslow Beach on September 17 in a bid to raise money and awareness to relieve the suffering of children living in poverty.

Group spokesperson Rodney Olsen told The Hunter River Times 276 million people are barely existing under the global food crisis.  This number is 10 times the population of Australia and represents people who have gone a day without a meal, most for many more days.

Already $727,000 has been raised and the figure is rising.  The riders have averaged 155km a day, the longest 195 km, and for some it is their first time on such a venture.

People like Chris Pike who described himself as a social, coffee drinking cyclist.

Chris Pike from Perth enjoys Merriwa’s lunch time hospitality on the second last day of the Compassion Ride before stepping his feet into the ocean at Bar Beach on Wednesday.

He took long-service leave to take part and says he has loved the camaraderie amongst the group and their compulsory fitness improvement that comes with such a distance.

As for the hosts of people like Barbara Campbell, the lunch was a privilege to provide.  She has sponsored children through Compassion since 1980 and has supported children from Sarawak, some from Ethiopia, Kenya and now Ecuador.

“This is all in support of the children and it is so lovely to be involved,” a modest Barbara said.